Jordan Casteel, Devan, 2014. Oil on canvas, 74 × 54 in (188 × 137.2 cm). Bendit Collection, New York. Courtesy the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York
Join us for a New Perspectives tour that will consider color and the representation of Black people in the paintings of Jordan Casteel and Peter Saul. We will focus on how the artists have chosen to portray Black skin in different tints and shades of blue in select works. Both Casteel and Saul create alternate realities where their subjects’ expressively colored skin encourages us to examine the effects of being historically called a “colored person.” Observing Saul’s paintings featuring iconic Black feminist and Black Power activist Angela Davis, we will contemplate how he utilizes expressionism to critique US politics. Our discussion will highlight the role of context in determining the effectiveness of intended social critique when issued from various points of view. Casteel’s work in figurative portraiture, on the other hand, plays with notions of visibility and transparency. We will reflect on the manner in which she occludes her subjects by painting their skin in blue tones in the Visible Man series (2013–14), and the political and social effect of such a portrayal. Together, we will investigate the representational life of Black folk in these artists’ work by thinking about what happens when Black is rendered blue.
New Perspectives tours are led by a New Museum Teaching Fellow, an emerging scholar in art history or a related field. The topics of the tours are based on the Fellow’s ongoing research and change monthly, engaging participants in uniquely focused examinations of selected objects and installations. troizel d.l. carr, who will lead this tour, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University.
To read descriptions of current and upcoming New Perspectives tours, please view the calendar. New Perspectives tours are free with Museum admission. Please meet in the Lobby at the time of the tour.