The Whitney Presents Henry Taylor Career Retrospective

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Following its original presentation at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City presents the first-ever career retrospective of prolific painter and CalArts alum Henry Taylor (Art BFA 95) with Henry Taylor: B Side, running Oct. 4, 2023 through Jan. 28, 2024.

Spanning three decades of the artist’s work, the survey show celebrates Henry’s distinct vision and “freewheeling experimentation.” While Taylor draws from various stylistic influences, much of his work offers compelling snapshots of Black America. More about the exhibition from the Whitney:

Taylor’s figurative work, populated by friends, relatives, strangers on the street, athletes, politicians, and entertainers, showcases an imagination that encompasses multiple worlds. Informed by experience, his work conveys fundamental empathy through close examination and sharp social criticism. Henry Taylor: B Side is the largest exhibition of Taylor’s work to date, with over 150 works from the late-1980s to the present.

While Taylor is arguably best known for his vibrant portrait paintings, the exhibition also includes a selection of assemblage sculptures and drawings of patients at the Camarillo State Mental Hospital, where Taylor worked while studying at CalArts. B Side is organized thematically, highlighting his major subjects: family and artist friends, political and musical figures, urban scenes, and “wrenching encounters with racism, policing, and American history.” 

Henry Taylor: B Side is presented concurrently with Fragments of a Faith Forgotten: The Art of Harry Smith.

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PUBLISHED BY Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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