TITUS KAPHAR IS GETTING INTO THE FILM BUSINESS. United Talent Agency (UTA) announced its representation of Titus Kaphar today.

The agency will work with the artist on a variety of projects across film, television, publishing, podcasts, and other potential platforms.

Kaphar is starting a new production company called Revolution Ready that already has films in post-production, according to the UTA announcement.

The film projects, both features and shorts, are informed by his existing body of work, translating the meaning, concepts, history, and stories embedded in his paintings and sculpture on to the screen. The films are designed to provide greater access to his work by reaching wider audiences beyond the art world.

UTA has been building a roster of visual artists looking to take their work in new directions, expanding into branding, television, film, and other media. Existing clients include Shirin Neshat, The Haas Brothers, Ai Wei Wei, and the estate of Ernie Barnes.

Kaphar will continue to be represented by Gagosian in the fine arts and exhibition space. He joined the gallery, which has 18 international locations, in April in 2020.

The past few years have been busy and fruitful for Kaphar, who is based in New Haven, Conn. In 2018, the artist won a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. He is a co-founder of NXTHVN, a nonprofit arts hub in New Haven that opened its doors in 2019. NXTHVN supports and empowers the next generation of artists and curators, providing education, mentorship, professional connections, and space for creativity through fellowships and apprenticeships. When Kaphar joined Gagosian, the gallery pledged to represent his artistic practice and support NXTHVN.

Twice Kaphar has been tapped by Time magazine to provide images that speak to transformational moments in American culture. He depicted Ferguson protesters after Michael Brown was killed by a cop. More recently, when racial justice protests spread across the world in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd, his painting “Analogous Colors” (2020), depicting a mother’s anguish at losing her son, appeared on the cover of the magazine’s June 15, 2020 issue. In December, he was profiled on CBS Sunday Morning.

The film projects, both features and shorts, are informed by his existing body of work, translating the meaning, concepts, history, and stories embedded in his paintings and sculpture on to the screen. The films are designed to provide greater access to his work by reaching wider audiences beyond the art world.

KAPHAR, WHO EARNED AN MFA FROM YALE, has developed a practice around challenging art historical images from the 18th and 19th centuries and the American history narratives they normalize. He physically manipulates his canvases by cutting them, rolling them up, covering them with tar, or whitewashing them with paint in an effort to center overlooked subjects, surface suppressed histories, and reckon with the nation’s shameful racial past.

His latest work considers notions of absence and presence through the lens of the contemporary moment. “From a Tropical Space,” his first exhibition at Gagosian in New York addressed Black mothers and loss and featured “Analogous Colors.”

The show was on view concurrently with an installation of new and recent paintings by Kaphar focused on Renaissance Christian imagery. “The Evidence of Things Unseen” was presented by Maruani Mercier gallery at Gesù Church in Brussels and featured “Jesus Noir” (2020), a Black Jesus painting, among the selection of religious works.

These works and the stories they tell, centering Black narratives and confronting Western art history, will animate Kaphar’s films.

“Simply put, Titus Kaphar is a visionary and we are so excited to partner with him on this next chapter of his career,” Arthur Lewis, UTA Fine Arts Creative Director, said in the announcement. “We look forward to getting his bold, important films out to a broad scope of people all over the world.” CT

 

IMAGE: Titus Kaphar. | Courtesy of Mario Sorrenti and Art Partner Inc.

 

FIND MORE about Titus Kaphar on his website

FIND MORE about UTA Fine Arts on its website

 

FIND MORE about NXTHVN on its website

 

BOOKSHELF
“Fired Up! Ready to Go! Finding Beauty, Demanding Equity: An African American Life in Art. The Collections of Peggy Cooper Cafritz” documents the life and art collections of philanthropist Peggy Cooper Cafritz (1947-2018). The volume includes commentary from several artists the collector supported including Titus Kaphar. When he first began to consider the kinds of programs and opportunities realized at NXTHVN, Kaphar reached out to Cafritz. In the book he says, “When I first started thinking about the project, it began with a call to Peggy. She has made me very aware of my responsibility to others, especially younger artists. My work in New Haven has absolutely been influenced by her work. She leads by example.” The volume “Titus Kaphar: TK” was published to document the exhibition “The Vesper Project” in Zaventem and “Survey” in Knokke in 2019. An essay by Bridget R. Cooks is included in the volume. Two additional volumes “Language of the Forgotten” and “Titus Kaphar: Classical Disruption” are out of print.

 

DISCLOSURE: Victoria L. Valentine contributed an essay to a forthcoming Ernie Barnes catalog published by UTA Fine Arts

 

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