One After 909 features artist Art Paul in a solo exhibition entitled, “RaceFace.” The show displays drawings on paper of fictional portraits based on Paul’s observations. Paul created these drawings throughout the 1990’s after his 1982 retirement from Playboy magazine, where he served as founding Art Director.
As a Jewish man, Art Paul learned from a very young age how it felt to be judged by one’s face. He saw how easily people became prejudiced in response to his physical appearance, and this inspired him to think about how people see and judge each other, and how this affects one’s identity. In his art practice, Paul was obsessed with drawing imaginary faces that represent the masks we project upon others and ourselves. We hide behind these masks, creating layers of faces and internalizations instead of showing or seeing the true person behind the face. This idea fascinated Paul to the point where he created hundreds of his “Heads” drawings, the majority of which are about race and prejudice.
Paul was also a prolific writer, and composed numerous poems and quotes on the subject, which are integrated into the exhibition. Through the artist’s words and images, “RaceFace” encourages us to pause from our fast-paced world and reflect upon how we see and judge the people around us, as well as ourselves.