On View presents images from noteworthy exhibitions
 

THE EMPOWERING ELEMENTS of the super natural and extra-human possibility thread Robert Pruitt‘s figurative portraits. For his latest exhibition, Pruitt is presenting 11 “heroically-scaled” drawings. “Robert Pruitt: To Control the Universe” is inspired by James Baldwin’s “Stranger in the Village.” The title of the exhibition references a line from the 1953 essay: “…the root function of language is to control the universe by describing it.” Baldwin writes about the experience of being Black in an all-white Swiss village and also reflects on the state of race in America. Drawing on the author’s themes of racial isolation and human connection, as well as spirituality and fantasy, the artist’s hybrid characters reimagine Black American identity, channeling mortals, machines, gods, and monsters. Born in Houston, Texas, Pruitt lives and works in New York. CT

 

“Robert Pruitt: To Control the Universe,” is on view at Salon 94, East 89th Street, New York, N.Y., from Sept. 13-Oct. 30, 2021

FIND MORE about the exhibition

 


ROBERT PRUITT, Detail of “Heaven and Earth,” 2021 (Conté, charcoal, pastel, and coffee wash, 87 1/4 x 63 1/8 x 2 inches / 221.6 x 160.3 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Farzad Owrang

 


ROBERT PRUITT, “Heaven and Earth,” 2021 (Conté, charcoal, pastel, and coffee wash, 87 1/4 x 63 1/8 x 2 inches / 221.6 x 160.3 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Farzad Owrang

 


ROBERT PRUITT, “Veneration Ceremony,” 2021 (Conté, charcoal, pastel, and coffee wash on paper, 87 1/4 x 63 1/8 x 2 inches / 221.6 x 160.3 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Farzad Owrang

 


ROBERT PRUITT, Detail of “Deuces,” 2021 (Conté, charcoal, pastel, and coffee wash on paper, 126 1/4 x 174 1/2 x 2 inches / 320.7 x 443.2 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Dan Bradica

 


ROBERT PRUITT, Installation view of “Deuces,” 2021 (Conté, charcoal, pastel, and coffee wash on paper, 126 1/4 x 174 1/2 x 2 inches / 320.7 x 443.2 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Dan Bradica

 


ROBERT PRUITT, Detail of “Deuces,” 2021 (Conté, charcoal, pastel, and coffee wash on paper, 126 1/4 x 174 1/2 x 2 inches / 320.7 x 443.2 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Dan Bradica

 


ROBERT PRUITT, “Observing the Birth Anniversary of the Big and Beauteous Bang, 2021 (Conté, charcoal pastel, and coffee wash, 87 1/4 x 63 1/8 x 2 inches / 221.6 x 160.3 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Farzad Owrang

 

Robert Pruitt’s subject “is adorned in a costume resplendent with bills in various denominations. The woman symbolizes oonkas boonkas, a Cajun tradition of pinning money onto the birthday child. Dispersed in the costume are monetary units including a $20 note with Harriet Tubman, a bill from 1880 with the signature of Blanche Kelso Bruce, the first Black Registrar of the Treasury, and food stamps.”

 


ROBERT PRUITT, Detail of “Observing the Birth Anniversary of the Big and Beauteous Bang, 2021 (Conté, charcoal pastel, and coffee wash, 87 1/4 x 63 1/8 x 2 inches / 221.6 x 160.3 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Farzad Owrang

 


ROBERT PRUITT, Detail of “Self Portrait as Adam,” 2021 (Conté, charcoal pastel, and coffee wash, 87 1/4 x 63 1/8 x 2 inches / 221.6 x 160.3 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Farzad Owrang

 


ROBERT PRUITT, “Self Portrait as Adam,” 2021 (Conté, charcoal pastel, and coffee wash, 87 1/4 x 63 1/8 x 2 inches / 221.6 x 160.3 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Farzad Owrang

 


ROBERT PRUITT, “Y’all Are Just Gon Have to Make Amends,” 2021 (Conté, charcoal, and pastel on coffee wash on paper, 87 1/4 x 63 1/8 x 2 inches / 221.6 x 160.3 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Dan Bradica

 


ROBERT PRUITT, “That’s the God in Me, Pardon You,” 2021 (charcoal powder, 87 1/4 x 63 1/8 x 2 inches / 221.6 x 160.3 x 5.1 cm). | © Robert Pruitt, Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Dan Bradica

 


Installation view of “Robert Pruitt: To Control the Universe,” Salon 94, East 89th Street, New York, N.Y. (Sept. 14-Oct. 30, 2021). | Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Farzad Owrang

 

TOP IMAGE: Installation view of “Robert Pruitt: To Control the Universe,” Salon 94, East 89th Street, New York, N.Y. (Sept. 14-Oct. 30, 2021). | Courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photo by Farzad Owrang

 

WATCH MORE In a video from his studio, Robert Pruitt discusses his practice, on the occasion of “Ad Infinitum,” his first solo exhibition with Salon 94.

READ MORE Teju Cole wrote about James Baldwin’s essay “Stranger in the Village” for The New Yorker in 2014

 

BOOKSHELF
James Baldwin’s 1953 essay “Stranger in the Village” first appeared in Harpers Magazine and was later featured in “Notes of a Native Son,” his essay collection originally published in 1955.

 

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