Amy Sherald: The World We Make




Amy Sherald, one of the defining contemporary portraitists in the United States, unveils a suite of new paintings in a major exhibition at Hauser & Wirth London, marking the artist’s first solo show in Europe.

Featuring a range of small-scale and monumental portraits across both the gallery’s London spaces, this presentation is the artist’s largest to date with Hauser & Wirth. Sherald is acclaimed for her paintings of Black Americans that have become landmarks in the grand tradition of social portraiture – a tradition that for too long excluded the Black men, women, families and artists whose lives have been inextricable from public and politicised narratives. As Sherald says, ‘sharing these paintings in Europe is an opportunity for me to reflect on how the tradition of portraiture finds continuity as one of several lineages alive in my work.’ Sherald humanises the Black experience by depicting her subjects in both historically recognisable and everyday settings, at once immortalising them and reinserting them into the art historical canon. In this new body of work, she continues this practice while confronting the Western canon through allusions to significant historic works or images. This includes the painting ‘For love, and for country’ (2022), a recreation of the iconic photograph ‘V-J Day in Times Square’ (1945) by Alfred Eisenstaedt showing a US Navy sailor kissing a woman in Times Square, New York City as Imperial Japan surrendered in the Second World War. The work deals with the rejection of queer rights to equal participation in public space, as Sherald replaces the white heterosexual couple with a Black male couple in sailor-esque clothing, reminding us of the discrimination against nonheterosexual people within the US military in recent history. The photograph prompted Sherald to think of the Black soldiers who returned from the war, still facing persistent inequities, and what it would mean to broach the iconic pose through another understanding of masculinity. Sherald hopes to offer the viewer a reflection of themselves and the complexities of their interior lives, void of the constructs of race, gender, religion and preconceived notions.

Duration 12 October 2022 - 23 December 2022
Times Tue – Sat 10 am – 6 pm
Cost Free
Venue Hauser & Wirth (London)
Address 23 Savile Row, London, W1S 2ET
Contact / london@hauserwirth.com / www.hauserwirth.com

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