Published by Hauser & Wirth Publishers. Text by Jenni Sorkin, Kevin Quashie. Interview by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
This is the first comprehensive monograph on acclaimed painter Amy Sherald, whose distinctive style of simplified realist portraiture features African American subjects rendered against colorful monochrome backdrops or in everyday settings. Sherald rose to fame after being chosen by former first lady Michelle Obama to paint her official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, in 2018, becoming the first African American woman to receive this honor. In addition to reproductions of Sherald’s recent works, the book—published to accompany her solo exhibition at Hauser & Wirth London in fall 2022—includes illustrations of earlier paintings, as well as an intimate glimpse into Sherald’s process and practice through a series of in-studio photographs. Newly commissioned texts include an art historical analysis of the artist’s work by Jenni Sorkin; a meditation on the politics and aesthetics of Sherald's portraiture by cultural scholar Kevin Quashie; and a conversation between Sherald and acclaimed author Ta-Nehisi Coates. Amy Sherald was born in Georgia in 1973 and received her MFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2004. She has been included in countless group shows at galleries and museums worldwide as well as the subject of solo exhibitions at Hauser & Wirth and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, among others. Sherald lives in Baltimore and New Jersey.
Published by Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Edited by Eddie Silva. Foreword by Lisa Melandri. Text by Erin Christovale.
This is the first monograph on Baltimore artist Amy Sherald (born 1973), and coincides with her first solo museum show at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Sherald, best known for her stunning and iconic portrait of Michelle Obama, makes paintings of African Americans she encounters on the street, in the grocery store or on the bus. “When I choose my models,” the artist has said, “it’s something that only I can see in that person, in their face and their eyes, that’s so captivating about them.” Through these vibrant, sometimes fantastical portraits, Sherald captures the essence of her particular subjects while engaging in broader dialogues about the black experience, the performance of race and the historic lack of nonwhite representation in the Western art canon.
Set against a monochrome background and divorced of context, time and place, the life-sized, frontal figures are dressed in costumes and carry objects that indicate their daily activities or imagined or perceived selves. Although each subject—painted with sober realism—bears clear resemblance to the sitter, Sherald adds the props and clothing, conjuring the figure’s possible alternate self, and hinting at the complexity and performance of identity and race.