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.”

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.