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Titus Kaphar, a painter and sculptor whose work examines the history and culture of America, will give the 2017 Flinn Foundation Centennial Lecture presented by Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University.
The lecture, titled Making Space for Black History, Amending the Landscape of American Art, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Monday, November 13, at the Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave. Admission to the lecture is free and open to the public, however, tickets are required.
Kaphar, a native of Michigan, describes his work this way: “I’ve always been fascinated by history: art history, American history, world history, individual history -- how history is written, recorded, distorted, exploited, reimagined and understood. In my work I explore the materiality of reconstructive history. I paint and I sculpt, often borrowing from the historical canon, and then alter the work in some way. I cut, crumple, shroud, shred, stitch, tar, twist, bind, erase, break, tear and turn the paintings and sculptures I create, reconfiguring them into works that nod to hidden narratives and begin to reveal unspoken truths about the nature of history."
His work has been exhibited throughout the United States, including in Connecticut, New York, Georgia, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Kentucky, Maryland and Washington, D.C., as well as in Austria, New Zealand, Germany, Monaco, and Bermuda.
Kaphar is founder/CEO of the PostMasters Project, a multidisciplinary arts incubator that is being built to train professional artists and to further establish New Haven, Connecticut’s growing creative community.
According to his website, Kaphar’s latest works are an investigation into the highest and lowest forms of recording history. From monuments to mug shots, this body of work, which was exhibited at Jack Shainman gallery from December to January 2017, seeks to collapse the line of American history to inhabit a fixed point in the present. Historical portraiture, mug shots, and YouTube stills challenge viewers to consider how we document the past, and what we have erased. Rather than explore guilt or innocence, Kaphar engages the narratives of individuals, and how we as a society manage and define them over time. As a whole, this exhibition explores the power of rewritten histories to question the presumption of innocence and the mythology of the heroic.
About the Centennial Lecture
In 1985, The Flinn Foundation established an endowment to commemorate Arizona State University’s 100th year. The gift created the ASU Centennial Lecture, and in 1989 it provided the Barrett Honors College resources to bring some of the world’s most influential intellects to campus. The Centennial Lecture has become one of ASU’s premiere events, featuring noted diplomats, scientists, playwrights, authors and artists.