Photographer Clifford King Prince, whose art focuses on the experiences of queer Black men, will have his first solo-museum exhibition in the Los Angeles-area next month.
“Yesterday and Beyond” will be on display at the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, on the campus of Cal State Long Beach, from Feb. 7 to May 19.
The museum’s acquisition of King’s “For What It’s Worth” in 2019 was its first photography purchase in more than 10 years.
“King’s large photographs printed digitally from scanned 35mm film negatives embrace the grainy artifacts of the scanning process,” according to a press release announcing the exhibit. “His golden-hued compositions of friends and acquaintances in mostly domestic spaces connect with the history of figurative photography and classical painting.
“Yet King’s delectable color palette and historically grounded figurative arrangements feature queer Black bodies in moments of close intimacy largely absent from art history,” the release said.
Emily Dinsdale, writing for Dazed magazine in a 2020 article, said that King “explore(s) themes of Black male queer identity by documenting shared, intimate moments of human camaraderie and vulnerability among friends and lovers.”
In many of his photographs, King makes private intimacies public, allowing or inviting the viewer to share in the poignant experiences.
King, 29, who was born in Tucson, Arizona, resides in Los Angeles.
His work has been shown in three gallery shows in L.A.:
- “While night comes on gently” (2020)
- “Where Beauty Softens Your Grief” (2021)
- “RASPBERRY BLOW” (2022)
During a 2022 interview with AnOther, King talked about his photography.
“Being a Black gay artist, even in figurative painting, there’s an expectation of what your work looks like and it’s obviously popular now and you can get pigeonholed,” King said.
“But overall I have a specific eye when making a photograph and it doesn’t just have to be a Black man laying in bed. It can be anyone and anything, it’s still my perception,” he said. “It’s a good way to end that initial introduction into the art world but also move forward in a way that is not necessarily what’s expected of me.”