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Legendary artist Henry Taylor's first major monograph chronicles his life and work—the "visual equivalent of the blues."

This definitive survey of over 200 of the painter's portraits and street scenes forms a personal and political portrait of society today. For three decades the iconic artist has worked his way through New York, Los Angeles, Europe, and Africa, documenting what he sees. In his circle are artists, musicians, writers, performers, as well as friends from his ten years as a psychiatric technician. It is the artist's empathetic eye that allows him to imagine his figures with authenticity and grace--not better than they are, or more glamorous--but part of a big, complicated world. Flat, brushy flows of color cast figures that often float in surreal landscapes abstracted from the barbeque in the park, or neighboring street.

Suites of Taylor's paintings are reproduced alongside handwritten accounts of the sittings, offering an in-depth understanding of the artist's world. Contributions by Charles Gaines, Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah, Sarah Lewis, and Zadie Smith touch on the nature of truth, racial terror; memory and belonging in America. This definitive monograph celebrates Taylor's direct and revealing portraits, offering a tonic to a divisive cultural moment.


About The Authors

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah is an essayist and critic whose writing has appeared in the Paris Review, New York Times Magazine, New York Observer, Bookforum, and Rolling Stone. Ghansah has drawn particular recognition for her longform profiles of subjects like Kendrick Lamar and Toni Morrison.

Zadie Smith FRSL is an English novelist, essayist, and short-story writer. Smith has won the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and her novel White Teeth was included in Time magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.

Sarah Lewis is Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture and African American Studies at Harvard University.

Charles Gaines is highly regarded as both a leading practitioner of conceptualism and an influential educator at the California Institute of the Arts. Gaines's work has been exhibited internationally, including Museum of Contemporary Art, L.A., the Hammer Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the 56th Venice Biennale.


  • Publish Date: October 09, 2018
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Rizzoli Electa
  • Trim Size: 10 x 12
  • Pages: 320
  • US Price: $65.00
  • ISBN: 9780847863105
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