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Amy Sherald: American Sublime

Amy Sherald: American Sublime

(Pre-Order, Nov 19 2024)

Amy Sherald
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Amy Sherald's work, life, and significance for American art, as revealed in her powerful figurative paintings of Black subjects

Bringing together nearly all of her artwork to date, this lavishly illustrated volume situates the work of Amy Sherald (b. 1973) within the context of American realist and figurative painting. Encompassing the full arc of her career, from her poetic early works to the distinctive figure paintings and portraits that have become her hallmark, Amy Sherald: American Sublime unfolds her method of selecting individuals she meets on the street and using facial expression, body language, and clothing choices to create paintings that transcend portraiture and expand the canon of American art. Essays by curators Sarah Roberts, Rhea Combs, and Rujeko Hockley; poet and writer Elizabeth Alexander; artist Dario Calmese; and renowned scholar Deborah Willis contextualize and illuminate Sherald's creation of a new form of imaginative portraiture. Often depicting her subjects' skin in gray monochrome, surrounded by few markers of place, time, or context beyond the clothes they wear, Sherald challenges the assumption that Black life is inextricably bound with struggle, creating images that engage in more expansive thinking about race and representation and the wide-open possibilities and complexities of every individual. Whether a passerby or the former first lady Michelle Obama, Sherald's subjects are at ease with themselves, the world, and one another.

Published in association with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


Exhibition schedule: 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
November 16, 2024-March 2025

Whitney Museum of American Art
April-August 2025

National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC
September 2025-January 2026


Sarah Roberts is Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Curator and Head of Painting and Sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).


  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publish Date: November 19, 2024
  • Pages: 144
  • Language: English
  • Type: Hardcover
  • EAN/UPC: 9780300279382
  • BISAC Categories:: Collections, Catalogs, Exhibitions - General, American - African American, Women Artists


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