Jordan Casteel is best known for her portraiture. Her vibrant, larger-than-life canvases portray the gazes, gestures, and lives of the individuals who surround her, including family, friends, her students, fellow subway riders, and people she meets on the sidewalk. Casteel works from hundreds of photographs, which allow her to spend hours incorporating the many small details that bring her paintings to life. She paints her subjects as they choose to be seen in their homes or places of work—with friends or family, and the objects that surround them. Inspired by painters such as Alice Neel and Faith Ringgold, Casteel thinks through histories of portrait painting and the ways it creates the world as much as reflects it.
The mural The Baayfalls recreates a painting on canvas of the same name originally made in 2017. The Baayfalls is a double portrait of Fallou—a woman Casteel befriended during her artist residency at The Studio Museum in Harlem—and Fallou’s brother, Baaye Demba Sow. The pair are pictured outside the museum at Fallou’s table, where she sold hats she designed. When Fallou’s brother arrived in New York from Senegal, Casteel asked the two to sit for a portrait. The title references Baye Fall, a sect of the Sufi brotherhood Mouride, of which Fallou’s brother is a member. The gesture Fallou makes with her left hand signifies Allah among members of Baye Fall.
Casteel’s work for the High Line extends the Harlem sidewalk to the park, connecting public spaces of different neighborhoods across the city. Through her portraiture, Casteel adds deeply nuanced expressions of human experience to the expanding collection of images we see every day.
Courtesy the artist and Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, San Francisco, California and Casey Kaplan, New York
Jordan Casteel (b. 1989, Denver, Colorado) lives and works in New York, New York. Casteel has presented solo exhibitions at the New Museum, New York, New York (forthcoming, 2020); Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford, California (2019); and Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado (2019). Notable group exhibitions include New Time: Art and Feminisms in the 21st Century, UC Berkeley Art Museum, California (forthcoming, 2020); She Persists: A Century of Women Artists in New York, Gracie Mansion, New York, New York (2019); Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (2019); One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art, MOCA, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California (2018); The Half-Life of Love, MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts (2017); and Regarding the Figure, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York (2017).
Lead support for High Line Art comes from Amanda and Don Mullen. Major support for High Line Art is provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston, and Charina Endowment Fund. High Line Art is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Corey Johnson.
Jordan Casteel, The Baayfalls, is made possible, in part, by an in-kind donation from Morgenstern Capital and Canvas Property Group. Additional in-kind support is provided by Colossal Media.