LA artworld openings: Henry Tayor at Blum & Poe/Kehinde Wiley at Roberts & Tilton

Henry Taylor’s opening at Blum & Poe was phenomenal. There were young African-American photographers flanked on both sides of Henry, shooting non-stop photographs. Henry has achieved what no other African-American artist has done, which is to be offered representation by one of the world’s most important galleries – Blum & Poe. Henry Taylor has received significant applause for his figurative paintings. He works like artists did in New York in the 1940’s and 1950’s, in a but in a not so easy area of Los Angeles, in Chinatown. He has a huge studio space. He paints from life and from memory and from photos, and from live models, right off of the streets of LA, like artists did in the 19th century in Europe. He was trained to work as a Conceptual Artist but rejected that way of working in favor of a more hands-on approach to image making. Five or six years ago he painted seemingly exclusively on found objects – cigarette packs, cereal boxes, thrown away small pieces of luggage. I saw these works at both Sister gallery in Chinatown, itself a sliver of a gallery space. Later he showed a room sized installation of small painted objects and sculptural assemblages, also in his Chinatown studio/Mesler & Hug gallery.  As his work gained significance in the market, he began to make larger paintings, which culminate today in his 24 foot wide painting with the words WARNING SHOT NOT NEEDED painted in bold black letters across the top of the canvas. In his first large-scale installation sculptural work, where black painted detergent bottles are set atop various poles, such as mops,  he makes painterly gestures using black paint to signify erasure of the spirit, as in the case where a beer can case is almost completely painted over, leaving just enough text left to show that this was a case of Miller High Life, and the HIGH LIFE has been wiped out by black paint. There was a virtual orgy of people congratulating Henry at his opening, including myself. I recall teasing him at the gorgeous Fontainebleau hotel in Miami Beach about his paintings getting larger, after I saw one of his first maybe 4×6 foot paintings in the Rubell Family Collection’s show entitled 30 Americans earlier that day in December, a couple of years ago.

Henry Taylor's studio - photographed in black and white by the NYTimes, mythologies the artist and sets him back into the era that NYC perceives LA to be in, which is about the year 1945, in 2011.

Henry Taylor's press release for his Blum & Poe show

Henry Taylor's New York Times T magazine photo

Mock up of Henry Taylor's sculptural installation at Blum & Poe

A sculpture in Henry Taylor's show

Henry Taylor's A Jack Move painting at Blue & Poe

Henry Taylor's studio was photographed by the NYTimes in black and white to lend a mythological air to the LA Artworld, which NYC perceives to be living in around 1945, about the time that NYC overtook the 300 year old Paris artworld.


a second NYTimes photo of Henry Taylor's studio

Henry Taylor’s début opening at Blum & Poe, March 2011

Henry Taylor's sculptural installation of detergent bottles and mop heads at Blum & Poe

Tu Pac in Henry Taylor's sculptural installation

Henry Taylor's powerful potent, aesthetically compelling painting at Blum & Poe

In this painting by Henry Taylor the earth and sky planes interchange.

Taylor makes a poetic comparison between animals and downtrodden mankind, living both in power and in fear; then he plays with black silhouette head to make symbolic commentary.

Here Taylor seems to say that African-American soul negating texts are built into the society, without it even being conscious of it.

Henry Taylor's opening at Blum & Poe

Kehinde Wiley’s World Stage: Israel opening at Robert & Tilton in Culver City (Los Angeles) was heavily attended. The paintings feature bold uses of color. They seem to me to be more casual snapshot than about penetrating character analysis, and about popularizing the unfamiliar and the exotic.

Kehinde Wiley World Stage: Israel at Roberts&Tilton

Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles

265 Southwark, South London (2011)


Vincent Johnson in London (2011)

Biography April 2011

Vincent Johnson lives and works in Los Angeles
Johnson’s work has been exhibited at Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles, LAXART, Las Cienegas Projects, the Kellogg Museum at Cal Poly Pomona, the P.S. 1. Museum, the SK Stiftung, Cologne, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Adamski Gallery of Contemporary Art, Aachen, the Sacramento Center for Contemporary Art, 18th Street Arts, Santa Monica, Another Year in LA gallery at the Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles, Soho House, West Hollywood and the Boston University Art Gallery and several other venues.
Johnson’s photographic works engage both significant and neglected historical and contemporary cultural artifacts and is based on intensive research of his subjects. Upcoming are projects in Copenhagen and other European venues, at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and at Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles.
Johnson received his MFA from Art Center College of Design in 1997. He studied with Mike Kelly, Jack Goldstein, Stephen Prina, Liz Larner, Chris Williams, Mayo Thompson (formerly of Art&Language), and Liz Larner.
Johnson is a 2005 Creative Capital Grantee, and was nominated for the Baum: An Emerging American Photographer’s Award in 2004 and for the New Museum of Contemporary Arts Aldrich Art Award in 2007 and for the Art Matters grant in 2008, and in 2009 nominated for Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship, Los Angeles. In 201o he was named a United States Artists project artist.
Johnson’s work has been reviewed in ArtForum, The New York Times,  the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. Upcoming is a one person show in Copenhagen, a one person show at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a one person show at Las Cienegas Projects, Los Angeles. More exhibitions and projects will be announced soon.

Vincent Johnson currently has work in the ForYourArt benefit exhibition at Soho House, West Hollywood, California and will have work in Los Angeles Nomadic Division’s (L.A.N.D.) benefit exhibition and auction at Palihouse in West Hollywood, California in May 2011.  In 2010 he was named a United States Artists project artist. In 2005 he was named Creative Capital grantee. His work has been shown in both the U.S. and in Europe and has been reviewed in the NYTimes, LATimes and Artforum. Future exhibitions are in preparation for shows in the U.S. and in Europe.


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