The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

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Important Update

Please note: The Museum will be closed on September 19 for a Members-Only preview and September 20 for a private event.

July 18, 2020 to November 29, 2020 | Leir Atrium, The Studio

Rudy Shepherd: Somebody's Child

Rudy Shepherd: Somebody’s Child includes twenty-five watercolors chosen from Shepherd’s ongoing Portrait series. The works on view depict victims of police violence. Also on view in the Museum’s Studio is video documentation of Shepherd’s 2016 live performance, Induction Ceremony. Law enforcement’s fatal toll on Black and Latinx lives has induced anger and anguish, fueling a movement for racial justice and police reform that has spread across all fifty states. Shepherd’s installation not only mourns and humanizes these tragic losses, but also raises awareness of systemic racial inequality and historic police brutality.

Artworks

Shepherd has been working on his Portrait series since 2007. His earliest portraits portrayed Black men accused of crimes, but not yet convicted, and prejudicially villainized by the press. As the series grew in scope and scale, Shepherd widened its focus to include luminaries, visionaries, terrorists, spiritualists, victims, and their perpetrators. Today, the series spans more than 400 works, each uniformly measuring at the intimate scale of 12 x 9 inches. Most of the portraits are made within days of the media’s reporting, eliciting an emotional response that establishes compassion by “reclaiming victims’ humanity.” Executed in watercolor, a medium that best matches the fleetingness of the news cycle, their individual presence embodies an arresting stillness. Accompanying the portraits is an audio piece by Shepherd about the project.

Induction Ceremony, commissioned by The Studio Museum in Harlem, was performed live at Jackie Robinson Park on October 9, 2016. The video documentation shows Shepherd as The Healer, a numinous being inspired by Sun Ra, composer, musician, poet, and pioneer of Afrofuturism. The Healer interacts with a monumental public artwork by Shepherd, Black Rock Negative Energy Absorber, 2016, to an improvised score played by an experimental music collective. Shepherd’s performance signifies a spiritual healing, where destructive forces like racism, exclusion, and trauma are purged through empathy and positive energy.

The Museum produced a poster with 100% of the proceeds going to Color of Change.

Rudy Shepherd was born in 1975 in Baltimore, MD. He lives in New York City and works in Yonkers, New York.

A selection of Shepherd’s Healing Devices (2010–2017) were included in the group exhibition, Objects Like Us, curated by Amy Smith-Stewart and artist David Adamo at The Aldrich in 2018.

Rudy Shepherd: Somebody’s Child is curated by Amy Smith-Stewart, Senior Curator.

Audio Tour

Rudy Shepherd: Somebody's Child Audio Tour

Links


Related Events

September 20, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Public Programs

Virtual Poetry: Whose Lives Matter?

Participants read, write, and share powerful poems that celebrate equality and social justice.

September 20, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Public Programs, Group Tours

Virtual Adult Tour: Rudy Shepherd’s Somebody’s Child

Join Aldrich Educator Dayne Encarnacion for a deep dive into artist Rudy Shepherd’s work.

October 1, 2020 at 7:00 pm | Public Programs

Online ARTalk - Portraits and Healing with Artist Rudy Shepherd

Join artist Rudy Shepherd in a virtual talk about the nature of evil and healing in his paintings, drawings, and sculptures.


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May 20, 2018 to January 13, 2019 | Opatrny Gallery, Sound Gallery, Bridge, South Gallery, Balcony Gallery, Project Space, Screening Room

The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives On Tabletop Art Objects


Related News

Rudy Shepherd Honors Police Brutality Victims, The Ridgefield Press

Through Nov. 29, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield will display 25 watercolor paintings by Shepherd depicting the victims of police brutality and other race-related incidents.