Thomas J. Price, one of today’s top artists thinking through the role that monuments play in our society, is now represented by Hauser & Wirth, a gallery with 13 spaces in locales such as New York, Los Angeles, London, Hong Kong, and Zurich. Price is set to have his first exhibition with the gallery in October at its location in Somerset, England, where he is set to kick off a residency in July.
Though he has also produced films and performances, Price remains best known for his large-scale sculptures of Black figures that contend with who gets represented—and how—in statuary from throughout art history. Past works have considered Greek and Roman statues as well as images of Black men made over the course of centuries.
As monuments to problematic white men and women fell last year amid Black Lives Matter protests staged worldwide, Price’s art was cited frequently in the ensuing debates. The artist himself was outspoken in such conversations. When Marc Quinn erected a statue of the Black Lives Matter protester Jen Reid where a fallen monument previously stood, Price penned a widely read Art Newspaper essay in which he wrote that “a genuine example of allyship could have been to give the financial support and production facilities required for a young, local, Black artist to make the temporary replacement.”
Neil Wenman, a partner at Hauser & Wirth, said of Price in a statement, “His multi-disciplinary practice could not be more relevant today. Amid the current discussions of public art and an awareness of nuanced representation in the public realm, Thomas inhabits historic constructs with a newness that at first glance can go unnoticed, but that live in the public realm as silent totems for change.”
Among Price’s most well-known works is Reaching Out (2020), a nine-foot-tall sculpture of a Black woman looking at her phone. Now on view at the Line, a sculpture trail in London, the work is the first public artwork in the British capital by a Black artist, and only the second to represent a Black subject.
For a new monument planned to go on view outside London’s Hackney town hall next year, Price—born in London in 1981 to a British mother and a Jamaican father—will focus on the Windrush Generation, an influx of émigrés from Caribbean countries to the U.K. in the ’50s and ’60s who faced disenfranchisement and deportation. The piece is set to be unveiled alongside a new work devoted to the same subject by Veronica Ryan.