Global cultures 1980 - now

Histories, real and imagined

Contemporary artists depict the realities and possibilities of the past, often as a commentary on the present.

1980 - present

videos + essays

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Titus Kaphar, <em>The Cost of Removal</em>
Titus Kaphar, The Cost of Removal

Kaphar takes a violent history and renders it visible in this modified portrait of Andrew Jackson.

Sigmar Polke, <em>Watchtower</em> series
Sigmar Polke, Watchtower series

Cheap fabric with a garish print becomes an eerie specter of surveillance thanks to some creative chemistry.

William Kentridge, drawing from <em>Tide Table (Soho in Deck Chair)</em>
William Kentridge, drawing from Tide Table (Soho in Deck Chair)

On a beach in a suit, a discordant image, like South Africa, where it was made.

Wendy Red Star, <em>1880 Crow Peace Delegation</em>
Wendy Red Star, 1880 Crow Peace Delegation

Red Star annotated photographs to restore dignity and context to government-issue photographs of Crow chiefs.

Nam June Paik, <em>Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii</em>
Nam June Paik, Electronic Superhighway: Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii

The “father of video art” argued that electronic communication, not transportation, unites the modern world.

El Anatsui,  <em>Old Man’s Cloth</em>
El Anatsui, Old Man’s Cloth

Textile or sculpture? El Anatsui purposely disregards the limiting categories imposed by Western art history.

Gerhard Richter, <em>Uncle Rudi</em>
Gerhard Richter, Uncle Rudi

Richter toys with both visual and ethical clarity in this evocative, ambiguous painting of an uncle lost to WWII.

El Anatsui, <em>Untitled</em>
El Anatsui, Untitled

The artist transforms metal from alcohol bottles into textiles that represent libations for ancestors.

Gerhard Richter, <em>Betty</em>
Gerhard Richter, Betty

Hyperreal paintings like “Betty” are just one part of Richter’s practice, which resists stylistic classification.

Gerhard Richter, The Cage Paintings (1-6)
Gerhard Richter, The Cage Paintings (1-6)

John Cage and Richter never met, but there was a kinship between these two artists with diverse practices.

Gerhard Richter, <em>September</em>
Gerhard Richter, September

Richter revives the genre of history painting in the 21st century in this work showing the events of 9/11.

Kehinde Wiley, <em>Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps</em>
Kehinde Wiley, Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps

Wiley wryly places himself alongside the great master painters of history with his reimagined Napoleon.

Selected Contributors | Histories, real and imagined