Henry Taylor
With a New Film by Kahlil Joseph
September 10November 5, 2016

Henry Taylor
With a New Film by Kahlil Joseph 

Blum & Poe, Los Angeles
September 10 – November 5, 2016
Opening reception: Saturday, September 10, 6 – 8pm 

Blum & Poe is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Los Angeles-based artist Henry Taylor. Including new paintings, sculptures, and a film installation by friend and collaborator Kahlil Joseph, the works are installed in three unique environments. This is the artist’s fourth solo show with the gallery. 

Taylor’s work continues to delve and expand upon the language of portraiture and painting, while also pointing to the social and political issues affecting African Americans today. From racial inequality, homelessness, and poverty, to the importance of family and community, Taylor says, “My paintings are what I see around me…they are my landscape paintings.” His portraits reveal a fascination with the sitters, who are oftentimes portrayed against solid-colored backgrounds, as well as domestic and outdoor spaces. The psychological and physical implications of “space” – public vs. private, interior vs. exterior – is a theme that Taylor explores throughout this presentation. 

The exhibition begins inside of an abandoned dirt lot, similar to those from Taylor’s own adolescence, which became playgrounds and gathering spaces for the community. These lots also provided temporary housing, becoming tent cities for the disenfranchised. As a result, they did not go unnoticed and were always policed. Such memories continue to influence Taylor, who turns to both his personal archives as well as found imagery and objects for source material. 

Taylor marks the disparity between social classes from one gallery to the next by installing in each space a distinct terrain. An empty, dirt lot beside a lush, grassy lawn inevitably points to the different groups of people who inhabit these spaces. While one space portrays a certain sense of abandon and despair, the other is more about experiencing pleasure and comfort within private property. The subjects in the paintings vary – from scenes of Taylor’s life to imagery inspired by current affairs, candidly depicting the world around him.

On the evening of the opening, a performance collaboratively conceived by Taylor and close friend, Los Angeles-based artist and filmmaker Kahlil Joseph, will take place in the third gallery. This staging will coincide with an installation of a related film project created by Joseph and inspired by Taylor’s encounter with reggae legend Bob Marley. This multi-media and immersive presentation weaves together personal history with collective memory, contributing to our understanding of how public memory has been and might continue to be framed. 

Henry Taylor was born in Ventura, CA (1958) and received a BFA from the California Institute of the Arts. Recent solo exhibitions include 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 Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium (forthcoming, 2016); Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo, Norway (forthcoming, 2016); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY (2016); Hammer Museum at Art + Practice, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (2016); Studio Museum, Harlem, NY (2013); Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA (2013); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA (2012); Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2011); and the Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL (2011).

Kahlil Joseph is an American artist and filmmaker working in Los Angeles. His previous work includes Until the Quiet Comes, which received widespread critical acclaim and won the Grand Jury Prize for Short Films at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The following year the film was included in the celebrated exhibition Ruffneck Constructivists, curated by Kara Walker, at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. Joseph’s first major solo museum show, Double Conscience, featured his visually and sonically dynamic double-channel film m.A.A.d., at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (2015). Young Blood: Noah Davis, Kahlil Joseph and The Underground Museum, a show of new film works by Joseph and paintings by his late brother Noah Davis (and founder of the Underground Museum), opened at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle in the Spring. Concurrently, Joseph was Emmy-nominated for his direction of Beyonce’s feature length album film, Lemonade. Joseph is a recipient of the 2016 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship.