Jordan Casteel: portraits of black America at the Denver Art Museum

Discovering Jordan Casteel’s Paintings

While visiting the Denver Art Museum I ran across Jordan Casteel’s engaging portrait work of black Americans from the streets of Harlem. It’s not to often that you see such intimate portraits of everyday life displayed in a modern contemporary museum – It was refreshing and inspiring.

Jordan Casteel painting titled The Baayfalls
The Baayfalls

The Exhibition: Returning the Gaze

Jordan Casteel uses a variety of photographs taken from her everyday life and relationships as reference for her paintings. Each painting is personal and draws you in – you can feel that there is a real connection with the subjects, their life and their neighborhood.

Rather then standing back and sculpting reality from the artists point of view, Jordan brings the subject into our reality inviting us into the subjects world.

The sitters in Jordan Casteel’s work, however, return both the artist’s gaze and ours. They invite our respect with their eyes, implying a genuine exchange between artist and sitter. Far from being passive models in an impersonal setting, they are pictured either in the comfort of their homes, on the streets of their neighborhood or at work.

Rebecca R. Hart – Vicki and Kent Logan Curator of Contemporary Art

About Jordan Casteel

Born in 1989, Casteel was raised in Denver and now lives in Harlem. A graduate of Denver’s East High School, she attended Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, before earning her MFA from the Yale School of Art in New Haven, Connecticut.

You can learn more about Casteel on her website and wikipedia page.

Left: Harold Right: Timothy

The Denver Art Museum

The Denver Art Museum is a piece of architectural art in and of itself – it was designed by famed Italian architect Gio Ponti in 1971. According to wikipedia “The Denver Art Museum — DAM is an art museum located in the Civic Center of Denver, Colorado. With encyclopedic collections of more than 70,000 diverse works from across the centuries and world, the DAM is one of the largest art museums between the West Coast and Chicago.”

You can plan your visit and see what is currently on exhibition at the  Denver Art Museum website.

Denver Art Museum building architecture