DeCordova awards Rappaport Prize to Titus Kaphar


DeCordova is pleased to announce Titus Kaphar as the nineteenth recipient of the prestigious Rappaport Prize, an annual award of $25,000 given to a contemporary artist with strong connections to New England and a proven record of achievement. The Rappaport Prize, established in 2000, is one of the most generous contemporary art awards of its kind. In 2010, the Rappaport Prize was endowed in perpetuity by the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation, assuring the ongoing support of contemporary art and artists in New England.

“I’m excited for deCordova to award this year’s Rappaport Prize to Titus Kaphar,” says deCordova Executive Director John B. Ravenal. “He’s an exceptional artist and a visible advocate for social justice and community engagement. I’ve long admired his work, especially how he brings together his passion, imagination, and intelligence. Selecting Titus as this year’s Prize winner confirms both deCordova’s commitment to outstanding New England artists and the Rappaport’s support for leadership, whether in medicine, public policy, or the arts.”

Titus Kaphar is a painter and sculptor whose practice examines the history of representation. In his art, he appropriates styles and conventions from the art historical canon and, using techniques like cutting, shredding, and erasing, he represents them to illuminate social inequalities and address African-American experiences from our country's founding to today. Ultimately, his work confronts our past to highlight the inadequacies of our present. In Kaphar’s words, he creates works “that nod to hidden narratives and begin to reveal unspoken truths about the nature of history.”

Kaphar stated upon being awarded the prize, “When I looked at the list of artists who have received this award I immediately understood the honor of being included! I look forward to visiting the Sculpture Park and Museum, and to addressing the deCordova community.”

The public is invited to attend the Rappaport Prize Lecture with Titus Kaphar on Tuesday, October 30 at 6:30 pm at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. Admission is free.

About the Artist
Titus Kaphar was born in 1976 in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He received his BFA from San Jose State University in 2001 and his MFA from Yale University. He is represented by Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. He currently lives and works between New York and Connecticut.

His work has been included in solo and group exhibitions at Savannah College of Art and Design, Georgia; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Seattle Art Museum, Washington. His immersive installation The Vesper Project (2013–16) has toured several venues including the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Arts, Cincinnati; and the Katzen Arts Center at American University, Washington, DC. His work is included in the collections of the New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut; the Seattle Art Museum; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.  In 2014 Kaphar was commissioned in by Time magazine to paint a response to protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

In 2017 Kaphar led a TED Talk titled “How Can We Address Centuries of Racism In Art?” in which he explored the history of racism in Western artwork—and asked how we can amend it through contemporary art.

Kaphar is also invested in his own community in New Haven, Connecticut. In 2015, together with Jonathan Brand, he set up NXTHVN, an ambitious art space housed in a former manufacturing plan in the Dixwell neighborhood of New Haven. Here, artists and curators work together to make art, exchange ideas, and extend their networks. The center is also involved with a number of local high schools.

About the Rappaport Prize

Since its inception in 2000, the Rappaport Prize has been an investment in both individual artists and the broader art community. Founded and funded by the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation, the Rappaport Prize follows the Foundation’s mission of promoting art, leadership in public policy, and medical research. Endowed at, and selected annually by, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, the Rappaport Prize supports artists while educating the public about developments in American contemporary art.

The prize celebrates the achievement and potential of an artist who has demonstrated significant creativity and vision, and encourages the recipient to continue a career of innovative art making. Together, deCordova and the Rappaport Foundation hope to create a community of accomplished artists whose careers have been enhanced by the recognition of the Rappaport Prize. In 2010, the Rappaport Foundation endowed the prize, ensuring its continuation in perpetuity.

Past Rappaport Prize Winners

2017 Sam Durant
2016 Barkley Hendricks
2015 Matt Saunders
2014 Liz Deschenes
2013 Ann Pibal
2012 Suara Welitoff
2011 Orly Genger
2010 Liza Johnson
2009 Dave Cole
2008 Ursula von Rydingsvard
2007 Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons
2006 Abelardo Morell
2005 Sarah Walker
2004 Debra Olin
2003 John Bisbee
2002 Lars-Erik Fisk
2001 Annee Spileos Scott
2000 Jennifer Hall

Related Public Programming

Rappaport Prize Lecture with Titus Kaphar
Tuesday, October 30

  • 6 pm Reception and light refreshments with the artist (cash bar available)
  • 6:30 pm Artist’s talk

deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln, MA 01773

Please note that seating is on a first come, first served basis. Space is limited and latecomers are not guaranteed a seat.

Rappaport Prize 2018 PR.pdf719.07 KB
Titus Kaphar Head Shot.jpg13.24 MB
2018_HistoricalNonfiction_60x48_1.jpg16.65 MB
2016_MonInvGW.jpg728.03 KB
2018_Languageoftheforgotten.jpg2.38 MB
Rappaport Prize 2018 - Image Captions.pdf155.51 KB