Art + Culture

“Black Artist” vs. “Yellow Artist” in the context of “Henry Taylor @ Blum & Poe Tokyo” “Black Artist” vs. “Yellow Artist” in the context of "Henry Taylor @ Blum & Poe Tokyo"

Henry Taylor “Cicely and Miles Visit the Obamas” 2017, Acrylic on canvas, 213.4 x 182.9 cm, detail
Blum & Poe booth @ Art Basel, June 2017

Art in America

Art in America, March 2017

ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京

Henry Taylor “Cicely and Miles Visit the Obamas” 2017, Acrylic on canvas, 213.4 x 182.9 cm, Blum & Poe booth @ Art Basel, June 2017
photo taken with the available light

Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York City, USA
see also:
 Is “African American” an appropriate term?


“Imagine” Yoko Ono and John Lennon.
And we are still arguing about “color” as boundary. In a progressing, quickly developing global mobility context, fear of losing its own cultural identity make people act in discriminative ways.
The still running mediocre-painting-exhibition at Blum & Poe Tokyo “Henry Taylor – ‘Here and There’ ” questions identity politics, because Taylor forces us to discuss about the termini “black artist”, “Black Americans”, “artists who are black”, “American artists of African descent who are American artists, and they create American art”.
In the 80’s I travelled as a back-packer around Latin America for one year. The terminology “American art” used by US citizens is more than wrong, because it manifests, still today, an attitude of discrimination, segregation with a notion of supremacy.

Now, let’s change the color, especially from the viewpoint of Japan, where I (= African-European multi-ethnic background) consider myself an artist from Japan.
Should I mention, that my educational background could be defined as the so-called “Christlich-jüdische Leitkultur” in Deutschland?

Italian and German family relatives follow catholic and protestant beliefs. Because of my Japanese wife, I have to pray in Buddhist temples and Japanese Emperor “Tenno”-related Shinto shrines.
Hey, it’s all fucked up, but I enjoy it and I am living a happy life as a human being.

How would you define “yellow artist”, “Yellow American”, “artists who are yellow”, “American artists of Asian descent who are American artists, and they create American art”?
You see, it’s awful, really fucked up, too. And we could rotate, exchange the “colors” in every country of the world.
Hesitating to distinguish between mixed races?
Let’s have a discourse in Japan or in any Asian country about identity politics by adding the layers “gender identity”, “feminism”, “religion”, “spiritual seekers”, “minority culture” and “multiple country origins”. It will end up in discriminative, segregative statements, even in the contexts of scientific terminology and the so-called “Human Enlightenment”.

Unfortunately, in other parts of the world, abstractly speaking, the cultural identity situation is getting worse.
Keeping the above mentioned, problematic ambivalence about being “designed” as black artist or artists who are black in mind, I therefore hesitate to see the Taylor works as “black art”.
If Henry Taylor calls himself a “Black Artist”, I, Mario A, will call myself a “Yellow Artist”.
Let’s have a laugh:
Black Panther Painter vs. Yellow Jaguar Painter.

Why should we rewrite (Western) art history?
100 years ago “White Painting” in the “Western Art Canon” had been already re-contextualized by Oskar Kokoschka, Otto Müller, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Max Pechstein, Emil Nolde and many more… The faces and bodies are painted in green, red, yellow, black, etc..
Picasso was partly of Arabic origin. Picasso is NOT a WHITE painter.

Basel, 2018/5/12
Mario A

ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京

ヘンリー・テイラー @ ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京
「Here and There」
2018年3月24日 – 5月19日

ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京
ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京
ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京

ヘンリー・テイラー「Portrait of Yusuke Nishimura」 2018, Acrylic on canvas, 16 1/16 x 12 5/8 x 11/16 inches

ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京

ヘンリー・テイラー「Dr. Ashley…,」2018, Acrylic on canvas, 16 1/16 x 12 5/8 x 11/16 inches

ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京
ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京

ヘンリー・テイラー「I THINK IT’S TIME TO PRAY」2017, Acrylic on canvas, 35 x 23 1/2 x 3/4 inches, detail

ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京

ヘンリー・テイラー 「Apollonia」2017, Acrylic on canvas, 84 5/8 x 22 1/4 x 1 1/2 inches

ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京

ヘンリー・テイラー「OXXO- Somewhere in Mexico but close to the BORDER」2015-2018,
Acrylic on canvas, 114 1/8 x 142 1/4 x 1 3/4 inches

ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京

「Priscilla’s Welcomed Me」2017, Acrylic on canvas, 58 1/4 x 39 x 1 inches

ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京

「Priscilla’s Welcomed Me」detail

ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京

「Ghana Girl, Gonna be a Woman」2017, Acrylic on canvas, 35 x 27 1/4 x 3/4 inches

ブラム・アンド・ポー 東京

「Wow, I’m gonna miss u!」2018, Acrylic on canvas, 13 x 9 5/8 x 11/16 inches


compare with:
アンビギュイティと差別意識:藤井光の優作「日本人を演じる」を巡って (2018/4/6)
Ambiguity and Discriminatory Consciousness: Outstanding Work by FUJII Hikaru “Playing Japanese”


up-date, 2018/5/13

The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles’s Benefit Brunch in honor of artist Henry Taylor
Tribute by
Mark Bradford
Saturday, May 12, 2018
Luminary Table $20,000
Benefactor Table $13,000
Supporter Table $7,500
Charles Gaines, 2018 Benefit Bruch Host and ICA LA Board Member added, “Henry is one of the most important figurative painters working today. What makes his work unique is that it introduces us to the things and people that both concern and matter to him. His figures are presented as subjects, but they are also guides that take us through his idea of the truth of the human condition.”

Mark Bradford
Mark Bradford, yesterday @ Benefit Brunch, Honoring Henry Taylor


update 2018/5/14:
Mark Bradford + Kerry James Marshall: ‘Black Art’ for American Art Flippers (2018/5/14)

update 2018/6/8:

Henry Taylor

The Estate of Robert De Niro, Sr. is delighted to announce that Henry Taylor is the 2018 recipient of the esteemed Robert De Niro, Sr. Prize. Established in 2011 by Robert De Niro, in honor of his late father, the accomplished painter Robert De Niro, Sr., the prize recognizes a mid-career American artist for significant and innovative contributions to the field of painting. Nominated each year by a distinguished selection committee, Henry Taylor is the seventh recipient of the $25,000 merit-based prize, administer by the Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) for which Robert De Niro is a co-founder. This marks the first time that Henry Taylor has been awarded a solo monetary prize for his achievements in painting.  

This year’s selection committee included Sarah Douglas, Editor-In-Chief of ARTnews; Courtney Martin, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of Dia Art Foundation; and Susan Thompson, Associate Curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.

Of Taylor’s work Courtney Martin remarked, “In what feels like a condensed number of years, Henry Taylor has delivered a body of engaging narrative, figural painting. Though the stories attached to the works are often deeply personal, the canvas reveals layers of meanings both universal and formal.  He is masterful with color and with compositional arrangements that prick the senses. Taylor’s paintings are a full-on experience.”

“Henry Taylor had the unusual experience of ‘emerging’ in mid-career, becoming known widely as an artist at age 50 or so,” said Sarah Douglas. “Having followed his career closely over the past ten years, and made visits to his studio (whether the permanent one in Los Angeles or the impromptu one at P.S.1), I’ve witnessed, and never fail to be impressed by, his dedication to painting.”

“Whether his subjects are friends and neighbors, local homeless or mentally ill individuals, or prominent cultural figures, each of Taylor’s portraits captures the fullness of a life in a single moment, evoking a distinct sense of mood and creating a profound connection with the viewer,” said Susan Thompson.

“I very much admire Henry Taylor’s lifelong dedication to his work and his continued devotion to painting through his teaching.” said Robert De Niro “I am proud to recognize Taylor’s career through this prize that honors my father’s memory, and I am grateful to the selection committee for their choice of Henry Taylor this year.”

“Good things come to those who wait,” said Henry Taylor.

Henry Taylor was born in Ventura, CA (1958) and received a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Recent solo exhibitions include the floaters, High Line Art, New York, NY (2017); This Side, That Side, The Mistake Room, Guadalajara, Mexico (2016); They shot my dad, they shot my dad!, Artpace, San Antonio, TX (2015); and a retrospective at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, NY (2012). His work has been featured in group exhibitions in museums worldwide including the Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY (2017); Why Art Matters!, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA (2017); Stedelijk Museum


up-date 2018/7/21

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photos: cccs courtesy creative common sense