ROBERT PRUITT | The Majesty of Kings Long Dead
Exhibition Dates: August 1 - September 28, 2019
Artist Reception: July 31, 2019, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
In conversation: Robert Pruitt and Larry Ossei-Mensah: Saturday, August 3, 2 p.m.
Koplin Del Rio is pleased to present The Majesty of Kings Long Dead from New York based artist Robert Pruitt. The exhibition, which includes a selection of large scale works on paper and one sculptural object, marks Pruitt’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery, and second in Seattle since our relocation in 2015.
This body of work reflects an ongoing focus of subject matter from recent projects by Pruitt that utilize religion and spirituality as a means of exploring an African-American conception of transcendence and mythology. The Majesty of Kings Long Dead probes similar notions while expanding the artists own system of signs and symbols. Ideas of grandeur, holiness and divinity are introduced through depictions of makeshift crowns which dually indicate ennoblement and make reference to Egyptian burial traditions, gold chains and celestial systems.
Says the artist, “The show title comes from the 1920 Science Fiction short story ‘The Comet’, by W.E.B Dubois. In a passage near the end of the story, his protagonist, a Black messenger and laborer, comes to accept that he is the last man on Earth and is finally free of the constraints of racial subjugation. Dubois describes this growing awareness as thus:
‘Up from the crass and crushing and cringing of his caste leaped the lone majesty of kings long dead.’
This idea of a nascent majestic inheritance is at the root of this series of drawings. They are attempts to reposition systems of belief and mythos around a Black American identity. The works in this show seek to suggest a concept of a mythology of Black celestial sovereignty.” - Robert Pruitt
A self-described draftsman, Pruitt’s work often includes sculpture, drawing, and sound and video elements that project themes about the dichotomy of the black experience in America, and the impact of black cultural production on the global landscape.
BIO | ROBERT PRUITT
Robert Pruitt was born in 1975 in Houston Texas. He received his BFA from Texas Southern University (2000) and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Texas at Austin (2003). He is a founding member of the Houston artist collective Otabenga Jones & Associates. He has had solo exhibitions at The Pennsylvania College of Art & Design; The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, PA; Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, TX; McKinney Art Center, Dallas, TX; The Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Bakersfield Museum of Art, Bakersfield, CA; University of Texas, Arlington, TX(2016); Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN(2016); The Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, KS(2017) & most recent at California African American Museum, Los Angeles, CA(2018).
Pruitt was a participating artist in the 2006 Whitney Biennial and the 2010 SITE Santa Fe Biennial, which traveled to MoMA PS1 in New York. He is a recipient of the Artadia Artist Award, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation award and Joan Mitchell Foundation award (2013). Pruitt recently was awarded residencies at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art(2015) and The Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, Louisiana(2016).
Pruitt’s work is in the collections of The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC; The Studio Museum of Harlem; the Dallas Museum of Art; the University Museum of Texas Southern University in Houston; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; and most recently the Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas (2016); The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, Massachusetts (2016) and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2016).
For press inquiries, image requests and to RSVP to the July 31 opening, please contact Kimberly@koplindelrio.com