Philip Taaffe
Nocturne with Architectural Fragments

 2017, 150 knots hand woven silk, 145 x 108 inches Edition of 20 + 2APs

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One of the most interesting painters of his generation, Philip Taaffe emerged in the early 80’s and continues to be one of the of the most interesting and compelling Postmodern image-makers.  Taaffe synthesizes art historical references, ethnographic motifs, architectural orders and addresses issues that made him a prime candidate to design a rug.  In a time when symmetry and beauty in painting may seem to be on the defensive, Taaffe’s work challenges the contemporary viewer to be un-apprehensive and enjoy a deep satisfying complex sensual experience.  The Philip Taaffe carpet was a great challenge and took over two years to develop into the amazing image that you see here.

In an interview in Bomb Magazine with Shirley Kaneda, Taaffe discusses his interest in pattern and decoration which are essentially the building blocks for designing the carpet: “Decoration is usually derived from a local natural situation; it can epitomize the lush quality of, let’s say, palms or lotus flowers or jungle overgrowth. Decoration in this folk sense is a kind of culturalized representation of nature. It’s closest to the raw elements that reflect a very specific geographical location in historical time. The importance of it for me is that I can have these circumstances of time and place in crystalline form, and I can feel those realities, feel the history that they inevitably speak about in this natural cultural sense.”

Photo Courtesy: Alexandra Lerman, 2007

Photo Courtesy: Alexandra Lerman, 2007


Philip Taaffe's Golden Days By Vincent Katz

When one walks into Philip Taaffe’s world, one enters a forest. It is a dense, richly layered environment—a formulation in the present, based on past evolutions. Each contemporary artist must deal with the present/past crux. Some are so intent on appearing modern they neglect study of past masters. Others, intensely aware of the need to adapt lessons of the past, become trapped in repetition of formulas. It is the rare artist who can be completely contemporary while incorporating rules and rhythms of former times. Rarer still is the artist who can cull those rhythms from a wide variety of cultures and periods—an artist of great sophistication. Philip Taaffe is such an artist.

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Philip Taaffe is represented by Luring Augustine Gallery, NYC

Philip Taaffe was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1955, and studied at the Cooper Union in New York. His first solo exhibition was in New York in 1982. Taaffe has traveled widely in the Middle East, India, South America, and Morocco. He has also lived and worked in Naples from 1988-91. He has been included in numerous museum exhibitions, including the Carnegie International, two Sydney Biennials, and three Whitney Biennials. Taaffe’s work is in numerous public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. In 2000, the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern organized a retrospective of Taaffe’s work, and in 2004, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in San Marino, Italy presented Carte annuvolate (Cloud Papers), a survey of paintings and drawings based on the artist’s explorations with floating pigments and the paper marbling process. In 2008, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg organized a major retrospective of Taaffe’s work entitled The Life of Forms in Art: Paintings 1980-2008, which was accompanied by a publication by Hatje Cantz. In 2011, the Irish Museum of Modern Art presented Anima Mundi, a survey of thirty paintings from the decade 2000-2010. Some of Taaffe’s most recent solo exhibitions have been at Luhring Augustine in 2013 (Chelsea) and 2015 (Bushwick). In 2018, Lund Humphries will publish a monograph on Taaffe that examines his entire career over the past four decades. Philip Taaffe presently works and lives in West Cornwall, Connecticut.



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GoodWeave’s founder Kailash Satyarthi was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in honor of his career dedicated to ending the exploitation of children around the world. GoodWeave, an international nonprofit organization geared toward abolishing child labor in the carpet industry, has liberated and educated thousands of children, bringing them from carpet looms to classrooms.  Satyarthi and GoodWeave work to guide consumers to its Child Labor Free Certified rugs and replicate their market-based approach of certification in other sectors.  Kailash said at the ceremony, “I refuse to accept that the shackles of slavery can ever be stronger than the quest for freedom.” He asked those in attendance to place their hands over their hearts and “listen to the child inside.”