Art and Visual Studies
Dr. Miriam E. Kienle
With compelling portraits that challenge the representation of minorities within the art historical canon, American artist Titus Kaphar has emerged as an important voice in contemporary art. His paintings are best-known for engaging the history of art and visual culture founded on the construction of whiteness and restoring narratives of people of color through modern-day representations of once hidden historical actors. Kaphar questions how repressed histories have shaped preconceived notions of famous historic figures, such as Thomas Jefferson, and more importantly, of United States history. Throughout his career, his innovative practice has aimed to disrupt the visual field and reveal silenced truths. However, when Kaphar was commissioned to create a cover of the Ferguson protesters for Time magazine in 2014, he drastically altered his initial approach to concepts of visibility and identity. While critiquing the hypervisibility of news media and social media platforms, the piece became a product of media culture itself. As I explore in this paper, Kaphar's Yet Another Fight for Remembrance redirects his signature whitewashing technique to provide anonymity to the protesters, to comment on contemporary media's representation of minorities, and capture the collectivity of a movement fighting for justice. By analyzing the visual and contextual components of Kaphar’s practice, in both historical and contemporary subject matter, I argue that Kaphar provides a unique lens with which to examine the complexities of black representation in American history.
Hedges, Emily, "Yet Another Fight for Remembrance: Titus Kaphar’s Representation of Race in the Past and the Present" (2019). Dean's Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Scholarship. 2.