|Closing in Four Weeks: One: Titus Kaphar and Rembrandt to Picasso: Five Centuries of European Works on Paper at The Brooklyn Museum Closing on October 13 are two exhibitions that highlight important works from the Brooklyn Museum’s permanent collection. One: Titus Kaphar presents the contemporary artist’s monumental painting, Shifting the Gaze (2017), which examines and recasts the individuals and histories that are often marginalized throughout Western art. Rembrandt to Picasso highlights more than one hundred European prints and drawings from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection, pairing masterworks by renowned artists such as William Blake, Albrecht Dürer, Francisco Goya, and Vincent van Gogh with lesser known, rarely seen drawings, prints, and watercolors. In an effort to encourage further conversation between the two exhibitions, commentary and reflections by Titus Kaphar accompany selected works on paper in Rembrandt to Picasso: Five Centuries of European Works on Paper, calling into question the Eurocentric viewpoint from which art history has traditionally been explored and centering on new perspectives.
One: Titus Kaphar Closing October 13, 2019Lobby Gallery, 1st Floor
|Titus Kaphar is a contemporary American painter whose work recasts and reimagines the individuals who have often been marginalized or left out of traditional Western art. One: Titus Kaphar features the singular work Shifting the Gaze (2017), based on a seventeenth-century Dutch portrait of a prosperous white European family, which Kaphar strategically painted over during a 2017 TED Talk, leaving visible a Black boy believed to be the family’s servant. With his conscious refocusing of the viewer’s gaze to the boy, Kaphar draws attention to groups who have been excluded from art-historical narratives and points to the need to amend these histories so they are more honest and inclusive. Titus Kaphar (b. 1976) is best known for his body of work that responds to pressing social issues at the intersection of racial justice, activism, and representation. The work on view in One: Titus Kaphar was completed on stage as a dramatic conclusion to his TED Talk in April 2017, “Can Art Amend History?,” which explored how the encoded language of classical Western art conveys the power and privilege of its subjects. He presented to the audience his own painting, based on the seventeenth century Dutch painting Family Group in a Landscape (circa 1645-1648), by Frans Hals, which depicts a European couple, their two children, and an African servant, all posed against a landscape. During the talk, Kaphar uses white pigment mixed with linseed oil to veil the figures of the prosperous couple and children with broad brushstrokes-shifting the audience’s attention to the figure of the Black boy.
Framed by a wide collar and Kaphar’s whitewashed brushstrokes, the boy’s face is suddenly illuminated, no longer blending into the landscape behind him.Kaphar notes that he doesn’t seek to permanently erase the other figures; the linseed oil mixed into the paint will allow the faces and bodies of the family members to reemerge over time. “We can’t erase this history, it’s real. We have to know it,” he explains. Instead, he momentarily refocuses our gaze on what we haven’t seen in the past, thereby encouraging a more truthful understanding of the present.
The exhibition is curated by Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum.
Image: Titus Kaphar (American, born 1976). Shifting the Gaze, 2017. Oil on canvas, 83 x 103 1/4 in. (210.8 x 262.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, William K. Jacobs Jr., Fund, 2017.34. © Titus Kaphar. (Photo: Courtesy of Jack Shainman Gallery)
Rembrandt to Picasso: Five Centuries of European Works on PaperClosing October 13, 2019Lobby Gallery, 1st Floor
|The works on view in Rembrandt to Picasso include intimate portraits, biting social satire, fantastical visions, vivid landscapes, and more, spanning the early sixteenth through the early twentieth centuries. Select commentary by contemporary artist Titus Kaphar is included throughout the exhibition, posing questions about familiar works and providing a context in which to view them in new, unexpected ways. These comments are drawn from conversations the artist had with the curators of both exhibitions.
Rembrandt to Picasso marks more than one hundred years of collecting European works on paper at the Brooklyn Museum and is organized into four broad chronological sections. It begins by exploring the rise of paper and print culture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This section features a series of works by Albrecht Dürer, including a large-scale, eight-part woodcut print, alongside works by Rembrandt van Rijn and Wenceslaus Hollar. The second section highlights the work of artists who were active during the Enlightenment, an era that embraced intellectual and social reforms over tradition and superstition. A number of highlights from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection are included here, including William Blake’s The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun (1803-5), a group of etchings from one of Francisco Goya’s most acclaimed series, Los Caprichos (The Caprices) (1797-98), and two etchings from Philipp Otto Runge’s rare cycle Times of Day (1803-5).
The exhibition’s final two sections explore the ways in which technical innovations and modern aesthetic movements shaped artists’ work. Delicate works in color appear in this section, including Édouard Manet’s The Equestrienne (L’Amazone) (1875-76) and Woman Drying Her Hair (Femme s’essuyant les cheveux) (1889) by Edgar Degas. Also included in this section are examples of European artists who were influenced by encounters with the artistic style and peoples of Africa and the South Pacific. Paul Gauguin’s Tahitian Woman (1894) and Emil Nolde’s South Sea (1915) are on view, along with Karl Schmidt-Rottluff’s woodcut of a kneeling woman and Pablo Picasso’s Nude Standing in Profile (1906).
This exhibition is curated by Lisa Small, Senior Curator, European Art, Brooklyn Museum.
Image: Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973). Head of a Young Man (Tête de jeune homme). 1923. Grease crayon on pink Michallet laid paper, 24 1/2 x 18 5/8 in. (62.2 x 47.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum; Carll H. de Silver Fund, 39.18. © 2018 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.