Written by Mathieu Doublet.
As the first large-scale New York survey of leading contemporary artist Henry Taylor, the exhibition celebrates the artist’s unique aesthetic, social vision, and freewheeling experimentation. Through paintings, rarely seen drawings, sculpture, and a newly conceived installation, « Henry. Taylor: B Side » captures anover thirty-year career and features many of the artist’s most recognizable works, including paintings of family, fellow artists, legends, and public figures including Barack and Michelle Obama, JAY-Z, Martin Luther King, Jr., and more. Informed by the artist’s life experience and immediate environment, his work conveys urgency and fundamental empathy through close examination and sharp social critique. With over 130 works, « Henry Taylor: B Side » is the largest exhibition of Taylor’s work to date. Though renowned for his figurative paintings, Taylor’s work encompasses many genres and a wide range of art-historical influences. Within this stylistic diversity, Taylor’s storytelling offers a juxtaposition between depictions of his family, friends, fellow artists, and the art world and his portrayal of the incarceration, poverty, and often deadly interactions with police that are disproportionately experienced by Black Americans. Organized thematically, the exhibition highlights several of the artist’s major subjects. In addition to paintings, the exhibition features a new installation created specifically for the Whitney.