Amy Sherald: The World We Make 12 October – 23 December 2022 Hauser & Wirth London 23 Savile Row London W1S 2ET
Amy Sherald, one of the defining contemporary portraitists in the United States, unveils a suite of new paintings in a major exhibition at Hauser & Wirth London, marking the artist’s first solo show in Europe.
Featuring a series of small- scale and monumental portraits across both the gallery’s London spaces, this presentation is the artist’s largest to date with the gallery. Sherald is acclaimed for her paintings of Black Americans at leisure that have become landmarks in the grand tradition of social portraiture – a tradition that for too long excluded the Black men, women, families and artists whose lives have been inextricable from public and politicised narratives.
In this new body of work, Sherald humanises the Black experience by depicting her subjects in both historically recognisable and everyday settings, at once immortalising them and reinserting them into the art historical canon. Sherald foregrounds the idea that Black life and identity are not solely tethered to grappling publicly with social issues and that resistance also lies in an expressive vision of self-sovereignty in the world. By subverting existing narratives, Sherald hopes to offer the viewer a reflection of themselves and the complexities of their interior lives, void of the constructs of race, gender, religion and preconceived notions.
The first widely available monograph on Amy Sherald will accompany this exhibition, published by Hauser & Wirth Publishers. Newly commissioned texts include an art historical analysis of Sherald’s work by Jenni Sorkin, a meditation on the poetics of the Black ordinary by cultural scholar Kevin Quashie and a conversation between Sherald and author Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Amy has Sherald recently donated $1 million to the University of Louisville to fund the Brandeis Law School’s Breonna Taylor Legacy Fellowship and the Breonna Taylor Legacy Scholarship for undergraduates, a gift made possible by the sale of Sherald’s portrait of Breonna Taylor made in 2022 to the Ford Foundation and the Hearthland Foundation.