Pleading Freedom is an exhibition of iconic paintings by NXTHVN Founder Titus Kaphar and a selection of works from Redaction, a series of works on paper created in collaboration with memoirist, poet and attorney Reginald Dwayne Betts. A portion of the sales of Redaction work will be generously donated by Kaphar and Betts to benefit the ongoing work of NXTHVN. This exhibition is produced in partnership with Gagosian New York to complement their ongoing support of NXTHVN initiatives and programming.
Kaphar’s paintings Yet another fight for remembrance (study, above left), 2014 and Analogous colors (above right), 2020, will be exhibited together for the first time. Both have been featured in TIME magazine issues to accompany coverage of civil unrest in the face of systemic violence against black and brown people. Analogous colors most recently made national headlines on TIME’s June 2020 cover, accompanied by Kaphar’s written work “I cannot sell you this painting.”
Redaction, Kaphar and Betts’ first artistic collaboration, advances the themes explored in these paintings by focusing on the ways that state and federal court systems exploit and erase the poor and incarcerated from public consciousness. Redacted works on paper feature poetry by Betts in combination with Kaphar’s etched portraits of incarcerated individuals, and draw inspiration and source material from lawsuits filed by Alec Karakastanis of the Civil Rights Corps (CRC) on behalf of people incarcerated because of an inability to pay court fines and fees. Betts utilizes the legal strategy of redaction to craft verse out of legal documents, capturing the complicated and pervasive effects of time spent incarcerated. These poems are then screen printed onto paper using the “Redaction” typeface, imagined for this project in collaboration with designers Forest Young and Jeremy Mickel (MCKL Foundry), and made available for free online.
Redaction was first exhibited at MOMA PS1 in March 2019, curated by Sarah Suzuki. In their coverage of the exhibition, MOMA PS1 writes that “together, Betts’ poems and Kaphar’s printed portraits blend the voices of poet and artist with those of the plaintiffs and prosecutors, reclaiming these lost narratives and drawing attention to some of the many individuals whose lives have been impacted by mass incarceration.”Redaction is supported by Agnes Gund and the Art for Justice Fund.
Pleading Freedom public hours:
*No more than 7 people can be in the gallery at one time