HENRY TAYLOR, “Ghanaian #3,” 2017 (acrylic on canvas, 15.75 x 11.75 x .75 inches, 40 x 29.8 x 1.9 centimeters). | © Henry Taylor, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo

 

GLOBETROTTING OVER THE PAST YEAR, Henry Taylor spent time in Europe, Africa, and Cuba. All the while he was painting.

The Los Angeles-based artist presented an all-portrait show at Galerie Eva Presenhuber in Zurich in summer 2017. Blum & Poe mounted a solo exhibition of works by Taylor at FIAC, the international art fair in Paris last October. Hanging out in the gallery’s booth, he met Brigitte Macron, the French president’s wife.

In Accra, Taylor spotted a young “Ghana girl” wearing a green flower-print shift dress. Compelled to paint her, he later made a portrait of her on a large canvas in his hotel bathroom. Then his portrait of Jay-Z was featured on the Dec. 3 cover of T, the New York Times Style Magazine. Taylor talked to the magazine about what he envisioned for the painting, which he made in his Madrid hotel room.

Taylor’s latest destination is Tokyo, where an exhibition of his paintings just opened at Blum & Poe. The show, his first-ever exhibition in Japan, features a new series he made during his recent travels to Lisbon, Tangiers, Accra, Antiparos, Paris, Guadalajara, and Havana. The artist is presenting wide variety of works, “a chronicle of his expeditions and of his roving community.”

MoMA curator Laura Hoptman wrote about Taylor’s work in the catalog for his MoMA PS1 exhibition. In an essay titled, “Henry Taylor’s Portraits for the 21st Century,” she said: “For Taylor, though, portraiture is much more than an artistic convention of a realistic painter; the variety that he produces within the genre reshapes what might be considered a conventional language into a flexible vehicle for a much larger goal, which is to produce a multivalent but also highly specific view of contemporary life as seen through the eyes of an African American artist at the beginning of the twenty-first century.”

The selection of paintings presented in Tokyo includes self-portraits, landscapes, interiors, and street scenes, and “Priscilla’s Welcomed Me” (2017), his portrait of the the “Ghana girl” in the green frock. CT

 

“Henry Taylor: Here and There” is on view at Blum & Poe gallery through May 19, 2018.

 

BOOKSHELF
This fall, Henry Taylor’s first major monograph will be released. Published by Blum & Poe and Rizzoli Electa, the volume will include contributions by Hilton Als, Charles Gaines, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Sarah Lewis, and Zadie Smith. “Henry Taylor” was published to document artist’s 2012 show at MoMA PS1 in New York. Taylor was in residence at the museum for months preceding the show, creating the paintings that appeared in the exhibition, portraits of ordinary and extraordinary people.

 


HENRY TAYLOR, “Priscilla’s Welcomed Me,” 2017 (acrylic on canvas, 58.25 x 39 x 1 inches (148 x 99.1 x 2.5 centimeters) | © Henry Taylor, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo

 

Taylor posted a photo of “Ghana girl,” his subject for this portrait on Instagram, where he also documented the Accra “studio” where he painted it here and here.

 


HENRY TAYLOR, “Tatiana and Danny – Greece,” 2017 (acrylic on canvas, 8.75 x 13 x .75 inches (22.2 x 33 x 1.9 centimeters)| © Henry Taylor, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo

 

Taylor apparently painted British artist Danny Fox and tattoo artist Tatiana Compton while in Antiparos, Greece. A GQ profile of the recently married couple states Fox moved to Los Angeles in 2016 and references his “new proximity to kindred painter souls Wes Lang and Henry Taylor.”

 


HENRY TAYLOR, “Far away Thinking of You,” 2017 (acrylic on canvas, 44 x 32 7/8 x 1 1/2 inches, 111.8 x 83.5 x 3.8 centimeters). | © Henry Taylor, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo

 

Painted in Paris, the above work is among the self portraits featured in the exhibition. Holly Block, the executive director of New York’s Bronx Museum of the Arts, died on Oct. 6, 2017. Taylor made this work a couple of weeks later, memorializing the pioneering museum leader.

 


HENRY TAYLOR, Untitled, 2017 (acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 x 1.5 inches, 101.6 x 76.2 x 3.8 centimeters). | © Henry Taylor, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo

 


HENRY TAYLOR, “I THINK IT’S TIME TO PRAY”, 2017 (acrylic on canvas, 35 x 23.5 x .75 inches, 88.9 x 59.7 x 1.9 centimeters) | © Henry Taylor, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo

 

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