Collection Artwork
Titus Kaphar (born Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1976)
The Faithful
oil, tar on canvas
canvas size: 20 x 16 x 1 1/2 in.
Gift of Ann and Mel Schaffer Family Collection
Signed and dated, canvas verso

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

Tang Collective Catalog

As confederate monuments are torn down around the United States, some worry this erases history. Holding a nation accountable for its harmful past is a direct response to long histories of white supremacy and Eurocentrism. Depictions of Jesus Christ, for example, with porcelain-white skin have created a mass collective consciousness that allows for an alternate history that disavows the reality that he’s a Middle Eastern man. Centuries of these white-washed images permeate Western society. Acts of subversion disrupt such accepted alternate histories, and one can read Titus Kaphar’s tar-covered Jesus and Biblical saints as both subversive and revolutionary. His use of tar challenges the deficiency of black and brown skin in the art historical canon in much the same way that current efforts in the United States and Europe to confront relics of past atrocities challenge accepted histories. The issue isn’t about erasing or correcting history. It’s about acknowledging that history is dynamic and complex; thus, the need to revisit and reinterpret the past is ongoing.
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