Exhibition

Marcus Brutus. Lotus Blossom

19 Apr 2024 – 25 May 2024

Regular hours

Friday
10:00 – 18:00
Saturday
10:00 – 18:00
Tuesday
10:00 – 18:00
Wednesday
10:00 – 18:00
Thursday
10:00 – 18:00

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About

Harper’s is pleased to announce Lotus Blossom, New York-based artist, Marcus Brutus’s fifth solo exhibition with the gallery. The presentation features new acrylic paintings by Brutus and opens Friday, April 19, 6–8pm.

Lotus Blossom shares its title with the jazz record by the late trumpeter and composer, Kenny Dorham. The exhibition, like Dorham’s composition, is a peripatetic ode to the singsong of spring. Within Lotus Blossom, Marcus Brutus captures the evergreen spirit of the season through movement-driven figuration inspired by Black American life. Dressed in wistful pastels, Brutus’s errant figures roam blooming landscapes and breezy homes as they relish in the promise of spring. 

In works like Eden Roc and Ice! Ice! Ice! Baby!, athletic gesture encapsulates the roving pace of the season of rebirth. The protagonists of both works appear to take flight: in the former, a man sails across a turquoise sky as he flexes his tennis racket toward the viewer. We watch as a woman glides across an ice-skating rink in the latter; extending her leg upwards, she leans into a graceful stride. Both protagonists appear unfazed as they float forward with confidence: through their steadfast gazes, they welcome the unpredictable consequences that transition begets. 

We continue to witness an air of trust in the face of regeneration within the works Ain’t No Way and Oh No Not My Baby. A woman adorned in brilliant red pants and a blue puffer jacket stands proudly amidst a verdant field of tall grasses in Ain’t No Way. As budding life overwhelms the background and the foreground, she challenges the observer with a striking, yet inviting glare. We see these daring eyes again across the face of the figure in Oh No Not My Baby. Amidst a quiet interior setting, a woman clad in billowing pants and a sharp blouse guards her flourishing houseplants from the onlooker here. Brutus applies the paint with free-flowing marks across both works: orbits of lively green streaks and dripping washes of thin pigment present light-struck foliage. As if beckoning the quick-paced change that comes with regrowth, the artist’s bold mark-making echoes the fearless dispositions of these subjects.

Repeatedly, Brutus’s determined figures summon the poetics of the turn of the season as they sojourn through serene environments. The artist renders the mercurial time of renewal with a resilient fervor: wandering brushstrokes and nostalgic palettes erect scenes of temporal shift and reawakening. Ultimately, across Lotus Blossom, Brutus embraces the change of spring with curious vigor. As he paints, he shepherds new beginnings with sinuous streams of pigment that swirl into unruly flora, enliven starchy Sunday gowns, and conjure imagery of Black American leisure.


Marcus Brutus (b. 1991, Silver Spring, MD) is a self-taught, New York City–based artist who holds a Bachelor of Science degree from St. John’s University, Queens. Most recently, his work has been the subject of solo exhibitions: Poetics of Exile, Stems Gallery, Paris (2023); At the Rendez-vous of Victory, Carl Koystál, Stockholm (2022); Maiden Voyage, Harper’s, New York (2022); Good Night Willie Lee, I’ll See You in the Morning, Library Street Collective, Detroit (2020); Marcus Brutus: The Truth That Never Hurts, Harper’s, East Hampton (2020); and Go To Work. Get Your Money and Come Home. You Don’t Live There, Harper’s, East Hampton (2019). Brutus was included in the 2019 group presentation American African American, curated by Arnold Lehman, at Phillips, New York, as well as group shows at Harper’s, Los Angeles and East Hampton (2024, 2023, 2022, 2021 and 2020); Tanya Leighton, Berlin and Los Angeles (2023); Arsenal Contemporary, New York (2022 and 2021); König Galerie, Berlin (2021); Carl Kostyál, Stockholm (2021); and Gana Art, Seoul (2021). His work has been acquired by the Davis Museum, Wellesley, MA, and National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington DC. Brutus’s painting Bus Stop appears on the cover of the anthology The Movement for Black Lives: Philosophical Perspectives, published in September 2021 by Oxford University Press. His first monograph, Marcus Brutus: The Uhmericans, which features an essay by Gagosian director and curator Antwaun Sargent, was published by Harper’s in 2019.

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