Moving through Titus Kaphar’s installation one feels like a trespasser, tugged along by the mysteries embedded in abandoned furniture, missing floorboards, unfinished neoclassical portraits. “The Vesper Project” reprises an installation of 2013. Here’s the backstory: a man named Benjamin Vesper attacked one of Kaphar’s paintings and was subsequently institutionalized; he then began communication with the artist, wherein he revealed the traumatic history of the Vespers, a once powerful 19th-century family who passed as white until a pregnancy revealed its black lineage and led to tragedy. This story was a fabrication. Kaphar’s intent was not to deceive, he has said, but to “explore the subconscious deceptions that our minds engage in on our behalf and the work that is born out of that process.” —C.J.F.
Similar events around the world: “One: Titus Kaphar,” Brooklyn Museum, New York (June 21 – October 13, 2019).