June 4, 2020

Amy Sherald at Hauser & Wirth

Amy Sherald uses her skill of portraiture to contribute and grow the presence of African-American stories in American art history.
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About the Exhibit - the heart of the matter...

Amy Sherald at Hauser & Wirth
‘I look at America’s heart — people, landscapes, and cityscapes — and I see it as an opportunity to add to an American art narrative… I paint because I am looking for versions of  myself in art history and in the world.’—Amy Sherald
Amy Sherald at Hauser & Wirth

“The heart of the matter…” was Sherald’s first exhibit with Hauser & Wirth. The exhibit opened on September 10th, 2019, on the second floor of Hauser’s 22nd Street gallery space. The press release was one of the best I’ve ever come across, straight to the point and easy to understand, so I’ll just share the meat of it below. 

Amy Sherald at Hauser & Wirth
“Sherald debuts a suite of new paintings that reinforces the multiplicities of African-American life and invites viewers to reconsider commonly accepted notions of race and representation.” (source
Amy Sherald at Hauser & Wirth
“Informed by the artist’s reading of key texts that explore tensions between interior and public realms, ‘the heart of the matter…’ draws its title from the first chapter of bell hooks’ seminal book ‘Salvation,’ and builds on themes of silence and stillness explored in Kevin Quashie’s ‘Sovereignty of Quiet’ and U.S. Poet Laureate Elizabeth Alexander’s ‘Black Interior.’ (source
Amy Sherald at Hauser & Wirth
“ In her new paintings, Sherald considers how these relate to the conceptualization of blackness as it is represented publicly, questioning the representation of black identity, which often negates the complex reality of an interior life.” (source
Amy Sherald at Hauser & Wirth
“She envisions black American identity beyond the conceits to which it has largely been restricted, attempting to restore a broader, fuller picture of humanity.” (source
Amy Sherald at Hauser & Wirth

About the Artist - Amy Sherald 

Amy Sherald is an American painter based in Baltimore, Maryland. She is best known for her portrait paintings. Her choices of subjects look to enlarge the genre of American art historical realism by telling African-American stories within their own tradition. (source

“My mother did not want me to become an artist. She was a black woman born in 1930s Alabama where everything was really about surviving. I always say that she was the perfect mother for me, because what I needed was somebody to prove wrong. I’m a strong woman because I was raised by one, and I’m a better person for that.” - Amy Sherald (source

Amy Sherald was chosen by First Lady Michelle Obama to paint her official portrait in 2018. In now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. 

Sherald received a B.A. degree in painting at Clark Atlanta University (1997), and an M.F.A. degree in painting from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) (2004). 

Sherald is represented by Hauser & Wirth Gallery Globally. 

What to explore more? 


Smithsonian Magazine - How Amy Sherald’s Revelatory Portraits Challenge Expectations 

The New Yorker - The Amy Sherald Effect 

Cultured Mag - The American Realism of Painter Amy Sherald 


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