Tyler Mitchell Cultural Turns: Metro Hall

Apr 25–Jul 4,  2022
    Tyler Mitchell, Untitled (Toni), 2019. © Tyler Mitchell. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.
Tyler Mitchell, Untitled (Toni), 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 this outdoor installation at Metro Hall, his 13 larger-than-life portraits, in curator Mark Sealy’s words, “produce a defiant sense of Black being, one that sheds the degrading skins of categorization and classification so evident in photography’s past.”

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. Selon le commissaire Mark Sealy, les 13 portraits plus grands que nature de Tyler Mitchell, dans cette installation extérieure au Metro Hall, « produisent un sens de la négritude provocateur, qui se libère des couches avilissantes de la catégorisation et de la classification autrefois si manifestes dans la photographie ».

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 on billboards in Toronto—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 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.