Jerome IV

Titus Kaphar (b. 1976) Jerome IV, 2014 Oil, gold leaf, and tar on wood panel 10 × 7 × 1 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of Jack Shainman Gallery 2015.1.1

Searching online databases for his father’s prison records, Titus Kaphar found ninety-nine other men who shared his father’s first and last name who were jailed for nearly identical crimes. The artist began painting portraits of these men based on their mug shots to demonstrate the larger issue of the disproportionate imprisonment of Black men in the United States, where the privatization of the prison industry has contributed to expanded incarceration. While each portrait depicts an individual with unique facial features, the “Jerome” series as a whole also represents a community deeply affected by mass incarceration.

Artist in Residence 2006–07