Tyler Mitchell Cultural Turns: Billboards in Toronto

    Tyler Mitchell, Untitled (Eyelash), 2019. © Tyler Mitchell. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
Tyler Mitchell, Untitled (Eyelash), 2019. © Tyler Mitchell. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

Presented across three sites in Toronto, the work of American photographer Tyler Mitchell brings a bold vision to the city. His vibrant images richly portray the beauty, presence, and self-assurance of Black lives, referencing the rich history of Black photography while proposing new futures. In these two images, presented at a massive scale on billboards at the intersection of Dupont and Dovercourt, Mitchell brings the powerful gaze of the Black subject into focus while opening portals into intimate narratives.

Présentée dans trois sites torontois, l’œuvre du photographe américain Tyler Mitchell fait souffler un vent d’audace sur la ville. Ses images vibrantes dépeignent magnifiquement la beauté, la présence et l’assurance qui caractérisent la vie des Noirs, renvoyant à la riche histoire de la photographie noire tout en proposant de nouvelles perspectives. Dans ces deux images, exposées à très grande échelle sur des panneaux d’affichage à l’intersection de Dupont et Dovercourt, Mitchell met en évidence le regard puissant du sujet noir tout en laissant entrevoir sa part intime.

Read the complete exhibition essay by British curator and cultural historian Mark Sealy, which contextualizes this and the other two parts of Mitchell’s three-part presentation—including an exhibition at CONTACT Gallery and an outdoor installation at Metro Hall—within the frameworks of identity politics, human rights, the relationship of photography to social change, and the African diaspora.

Curated by Mark Sealy, OBE, Director of Autograph London; Professor of Photography – Rights and Representation, University of the Arts London; and core member of Photography and the Archive Research Centre (PARC), London College of Communication

Presented by CONTACT. Supported by PATTISON Outdoor Advertising, and by Cindy and Shon Barnett. Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art 2021–2022

Tyler Mitchell (b. 1995 Atlanta, GA; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) is a photographer and filmmaker working across genres to explore and document a new aesthetic of Blackness. In 2018, he made history as the first Black photographer to shoot a cover of American Vogue for Beyoncé’s appearance in the September issue. A work from this series was acquired by The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Mitchell’s first solo exhibition, I Can Make You Feel Good (2019) at Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam traveled to the International Center of Photography (NY)(2020), and he published a monograph with Prestel Random House in conjunction. In 2020 Mitchell was awarded the Gordon Parks Fellowship, culminating in an exhibition at the Gordon Parks Foundation Gallery, Pleasantville, NY (2021). Mitchell has lectured at a number of institutions including Harvard University, NYU, Paris Photo, and the ICP.