- Find new contemporary art, create your own gallery of art - Find new contemporary art, create your own gallery of art

Titus Kaphar  New York, NY

* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.

About Titus

Meshing historical narratives with his own, Kaphar’s work condenses the activity of decades into single objects. His paintings/sculptures are constructions built from artifacts of art history. Kaphar creates these paintings that he then manipulates using modern and contemporary modes of analysis, deconstruction, and reconstruction, to question the original contexts of the figures and re-present history. By white washing, collaging, crumpling, ripping, cutting, and sewing, Kaphar reconstructs objects from the canon of art history. In some works, paintings are stacked, one on the top of the other. In others, intentionally hidden truths are uncovered by cutting out figures in the canvas and revealing the bare frame beneath.

Art is treated as artifact, something made by man with historical significance. Crumpled, framed paintings appear to have been found in forgotten ruins. A crate-enclosed portrait is visible only through slotted spaces. The paintings speak to concealed family secrets, while the crate symbolizes the maintenance of these histories as well as the conservation of artifacts. The distortion of truth over time is inevitable, and one can only piece together information to unearth it.

Quick facts about Titus

Titus is the founder of NXTHVN, 501c3 organization that empowers emerging artists and curators of color through education and access.
Kaphar received an MFA from the Yale School of Art and is a distinguished recipient of numerous prizes and awards including a 2018 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2018 Art for Justice Fund grant, a 2016 Robert R. Rauschenberg Artist as Activist grant, and a 2015 Creative Capital grant.
His work, Analogous colors, was featured on the cover of the June 15, 2020 issue of TIME.

Recommended by our guest curators

Patrick Earl Hammie

Chicago, IL artist

"I find Kaphar’s painted and material interventions deeply powerful as they collapse and complicate traditional reads of Western art history and culture."

David B. Smith

Owner, David B. Smith Gallery

"Titus Kaphar uses oil paint to masterfully render copies of 18th and 19th century portraits, which he then cleverly manipulates as a form of fascinating art historical and cultural commentary. Through these blended layers of history and visual culture the works initiate a quite heavy historical dialogue steeped in issues of race and society—though with touches of the absurd at times. The canvases, transformed by Kaphar into sculptures, engage viewers on so many levels, and the end result is very powerful."

Titus appears in the following Top 10 lists

'New York'


10 of 20 reactions displayed

"Ive seen this before! on a show Its going to eat at me and i remember everyone on the show that he was on or who he did this for something they all fel in love with this as well vey creative and a deep LOVE his work"

"Conceptually and technically wonderful."

"I very much enjoy hearing your articulation about the work. I enjoy the sculptural aspect and the connectedness of the body of work you have exhibited.You appear to be excellently skilled and have posture of humility and confidence. I would encourage you to continue in this manner of attitude and healthiness.I laugh at the comment of "anonymous" who states, "not sure we need anything like this. but enjoy making your work and cashing any checks you make doing it. start a roth IRA if you haven??t it won??t last".What a seemingly-condescending projection of a clearly beautiful creative process. A comment like this would be minorly if any, credible with a context which states the writer's economical assumption/bias and a context regarding the persons from which the author is speaking for "we". Mr. Kaphor, I hope you continue to be rewarded and acknowledged for your hard work and creativity. I look forward to seeing the work in person someday!Cheers and blessings,Dustin Faddis"

""not sure we need anything like this" / "we need this and much more"Goodness, the audacity of people to judge whether "we" need something. I wish people could speak for themselves.I, humbly, like 62 year-old wrinkled & short Tommy J Skiens agree on concept and materials. But what I like most is not that the materials are manipulated, but that the materials themselves have manipulated my expectations (i.e. eradicated them entirely) - without that seeming to be the sole intention. Cheers to that."

"amazing! i really love this kind of art. :)"

"We need this and much more. Wonderful concept, excellent manipulation of materials. Your work is clear and focused. The art is for now and forever.This from a 62 year old, short and wrinkly man."

"interesting. It's intriguing- I haven't thought of doing things like this."

"This is the most inventive, original work I have seen in a long time. It's genius! I LOVE it! That first comment you got only proves you're on the right track. DON'T EVER STOP! Thank you for bringing this into the world. Thank you for the voice."

"I can't imagine wanting to buying this art, but it is interesting."

"not sure we need anything like this. but enjoy making your work and cashing any checks you make doing it. start a roth IRA if you haven't it won't last"

Previous artist

artistaday instagram artistaday pinterest