“The Whitney Museum of American Art presents the landmark retrospective, Henry Taylor: B Side. As the first large-scale New York survey of leading contemporary artist Henry Taylor (b. 1958, based in Los Angeles), 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 an over 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.” — Whitney Museum of American Art
Installation views of Henry Taylor: B Side at Whitney Museum of American Art, October 4, 2023 – January 28, 2024. Photos by Corrado Serra.
“We are honored to welcome Henry Taylor back to the Whitney after his significant appearances in our Biennial and collection galleries,” said Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator. “His paintings brilliantly balance a sense of tenderness, care, and community with keen wit, pointed critique, and a sense of broad social awareness.”
“Henry Taylor is guided by his deep-seated empathy for people and their histories,” says Haskell. “Painted with kinetic intensity from memory, newspaper clippings, snapshots, and in-person sittings, his portraits capture the humanity, social milieu, and mood of his subjects. They combine flat planes of vibrant, saturated color with areas of rich, intimate detail and loose brushstrokes to create paintings that really feel alive.”
This exhibition was originally organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, and curated by Bennett Simpson, Senior Curator, with Anastasia Kahn, Curatorial Assistant, at MOCA. The presentation at the Whitney Museum of Art is organized by Barbara Haskell, Curator at the Whitney, with Colton Klein and Caroline Webb, Whitney Curatorial Assistants.