The Rappaport Prize

The Rappaport Prize is an annual art award presented by deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum through the generosity of the Phyllis & Jerome Lyle Rappaport Foundation. The Foundation has funded a $25,000 prize, given to a contemporary American artist each year since 2000, making it among the longest-running and most generous contemporary art prizes in the United States. The Rappaport Prize has come to symbolize DeCordova's commitment to supporting the best art and artists in the region, as well as the donor's commitment to recognizing and supporting leadership in diverse fields throughout New England.


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 lives and works in New Haven, 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 October 2018 he was awarded a MacArthur 'Genius' Grant.

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.