In the artist’s inaugural collaboration with THE SKATEROOM, three limited skateboard editions are being released to raise support for Skateboarding Pakistan’s construction of the country’s first skatepark. The collection is released in tandem with MOCA’s Henry Taylor: B Side show, the most extensive museum presentation of Henry Taylor’s work to date.
Henry Taylor’s imprint on the American cultural landscape comes from his disruption of tradition. While people figure prominently in Taylor’s work, he rejects the label of portraitist. Taylor’s chosen subjects are only one piece of the larger cultural narrative that they represent: his paintings reveal the forces at play, both individualistic and societal, that come to bear on his subject. The end result is not a mere idealized image, but a complete narrative of a person and his history. Taylor explains this pursuit of representational truth: ‘It’s about respect, because I respect these people. It’s a two-dimensional surface, but they are really three-dimensional beings.’
This marks the first collaboration between The SKATEROOM and Henry TAYLOR, with a collection of three limited skateboard editions (a solo, triptych and pentaptych) in tandem with Henry Taylor: B Side at MOCA, the most extensive museum presentation of Henry Taylor’s work to date. Cicely and Miles Visit the Obamas, The 4th, and See Alice Jump make up the new, limited collection.
THE LIMITED COLLECTION
A Deep Dive.
Available in a limited edition of 100, Cicely and Miles Visit the Obamas, captures a scene where Miles Davis and Cicely Tyson, stand in front of the White House. Describing the original work from 2017, Zadie Sith says ‘In this portrait, the Obamas are invisible, represented only by the house they’d just left, while the actress Cicely Tyson and her lover Miles Davis have been transported from a long-ago black-and-white society photograph onto the green impasto glory of the White House front lawn… Taylor thinks primarily in colors, shapes, and lines–he has a spatial, tonal genius. Form responds to form: the negative space around Cicely and Miles in the photograph suggests the exact proportions of the White House, yet in the transition the abstract sometimes becomes figured, and vice versa, as if the border between things didn’t matter.’
The 4th, is released as a solo, in an edition size of 100. Based on a 2012 13-feet tall piece composed of two stacked panels. As Tatiana Istomina describes the work, ‘The upper [panel] shows the monumental form of a black woman in a white T-shirt; she holds what looks like a potato chip in one manicured hand and a barbecue fork in the other… Like many of Taylor’s best paintings, the work transcends the particular circumstances of the depicted event, transforming it into a metaphorical statement of epic proportions… Although her appearance is firmly rooted in the everyday life of contemporary America, the scale, posture, and gravity of the figure connects her to timeless icons of fertility and power, from Paleolithic Venus figurines to traditional African sculpture and early Renaissance Madonnas.’.
Finally, released as an edition size of just 50, the See Alice Jump pentaptych depicts Taylor’s 2011 painting of Alice Coachman. Zadie Smith continues, ‘No one else could have painted See Alice Jump or The Long Jump by Carl Lewis (2010), in which African-American sports stars leap through the artist’s beloved horizontal, and thus through time, through neighborhoods, through Black history itself, offering a vision of the heroic that lives alongside the prisons and the projects, which exists despite those things and yet does not, could not, erase or justify them. Taylor sees in the round. ‘
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Building Pakistan's first skatepark
With 14 skatepark builds already under their belt, the pros of socially driven skatepark construction (and long-time partners of THE SKATEROOM) Wonders Around the World are teaming up with the crew at Skateboarding Pakistan to build the country’s first skatepark in Lahore, the second largest city in Pakistan.
Skateboarding Pakistan is a local non-profit dedicated to improving the physical, social, and emotional wellbeing of Pakistan’s youth. Lacking a permanent structure to host their mentorship and skateboarding programs, Skateboarding Pakistan are active in Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad. Beyond skate tuition, they provide guidance on developmental programs and inclusive approaches to local skate crews to show how skateboarding can be a tool for social cohesion. This skatepark will become a permanent home for their programs and for their young people to express themselves.
The Henry Taylor collection is released at theskateroom.com, in tandem with MOCA’s Henry Taylor: B Side show, the most extensive museum presentation of Henry Taylor’s work to date . Editions will also be available for purchase at the MOCA Museum Store.
©Henry Taylor – Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth