Jordan Casteel: Within Reach

Type: Book

In her large-scale oil paintings, New York-based artist Jordan Casteel (born 1989) takes up questions of Black subjectivity and representation by examining the gestures, spaces and forms of nonverbal communication that underpin portraiture. "There is a certain amount of mindfulness that it requires ... to be present with someone in a moment." she explains. "I've always had an inclination towards seeing people who might be easily be unseen."

Published for Casteel's first solo museum exhibition in New York, this volume brings together 40 large-scale paintings from throughout her career, including works from the celebrated series Visible Man (2013-14) and Nights in Harlem (2017), along with recent cropped "subway paintings" and portraits of her students at Rutgers University-Newark. Whether depicting former classmates from Yale, nude and in serene repose; street vendors near her home in Harlem; anonymous New Yorkers huddled on the subway; or her own students, posed largely in domestic interiors among their personal belongings, she explores how both public and private spheres can serve as frames for an inner life.

This generously illustrated, oversized publication honors the larger-than-life scale of the artist's work. It is the first comprehensive monographic publication on Casteel's work and includes texts by Dawoud Bey, Amanda Hunt and Lauren Haynes, and conversations conducted with the artist by Massimiliano Gioni and Thelma Golden.

Paperback: 140 pages

Described as her first major monographic publication, the fully illustrated catalog features nearly 40 paintings from throughout her career--Victoria Valentine "Culture Type"

Jordan Casteel has become one of the most interesting painters of her generation, working predominantly in the medium of portraiture. Casteel's subjects are people of color...and they are rendered with a kind of beautiful vulnerability that is both honest and rare.--M.H. Miller "T Magazine"

Exploring notions of race, class, and belonging through a humane and documentative approach, in recent years Casteel has risen to be a notable name representing and celebrating the contemporary black experience. Whether they're full portraits of siblings in their bedrooms or zoomed in features of families on the subway, Casteel offers a fresh perspective of her community's culture that's both captivating and freeing.--Vivien Lee "New York Observer"

Her work, like the offspring of Alice Neel and Kerry James Marshall, makes you feel both intimately familiar with her subjects and like you're seeing them for the first time.--Taylor Dafoe "Artnet"

Her colossal paintings depict people of color at a scale that makes them impossible to ignore.--Zoë Lescaze "New York Times"

Jordan Casteel transform snapshots into indelible portraits of her community.--Caroline Goldstein "Artnet"

[This] large-format catalogue powerfully conveys the formidable evolution of [Casteel's] affecting and calmly intense work in the span of just six years.--Benjamin Sutton "Artsy"

Casteel uses portraiture to connect with the beauty of her communities.--Sara Rosen "Document Journal"

[Casteel's] works contain a commentary on representation [...] of a deeper, essential, and more documentary humanity.--Nina Wolpow "Brooklyn Rail"

Masterfully skewing perspectives and intuiting luscious, fierce colors, Casteel paints her neighbors in Harlem, her fellow subway riders, and her students at Rutgers University-Newark.--Cassie Packard "BOMB"

Jordan Casteel's vibrant colors capture the spirit and humanity of her subjects: black and brown people who have often been excluded from art institutions.--Jillian Steinhauer "New York Times"

Casteel's portraits arrive as a kind of valentine to the city and the people who call it home. Captured candidly, the sitters bring back the magic of casual connections in vivid color.--Editors "Cultured"

Casteel extricates her subjects from the inequality and stasis of everyday life in America, and to glorify the multiplicity of Black experience [...] Casteel's power is to look beyond prevailing socioeconomic or racial narratives; in examining Black existence as lived rather than as trend or news bulletin, she conveys a hopefulness which the white American gaze--with its institutions, values and social systems--still fails to actualise.--Ravi Ghosh "Elephant"