The purpose of art has many layers. On the topmost layer, it looks nice hanging on the wall, and lends its joyfulness or gravitas to the room in which it is displayed. As you dig down through the layers of art’s objective, however, you find far more than the decorative reasons. Art can challenge how we think, and can provide a visual representation of concepts we see in our lives. A good example of this is Jordan Casteel’s “Visible Man” exhibition at Sargent’s Daughters (179 East Broadway).

Visible Man 1

What Has Been Seen

Casteel’s paintings for this display all portray nude (but modest) black men in casual, resting positions, surrounded by the trappings of everyday life. Each subject looks directly at the viewer, creating an intimate connection between the subject and the beholder. By choosing to paint each man without clothes, Casteel has brought a vulnerability to her subjects, leaving them bare to observation and open to consideration.

On deeper consideration, Casteel’s work challenges our ideas of race and ethnicity. While her works of art clearly portray black men, she’s chosen to use a variety of shades as the hues for the men’s skins. By doing so, she asks us to think about what we believe constitutes race, and what it truly means.

Visible Man 2

Young Artist, Mature Ideas

Casteel is an artist fresh out of grad school, having graduated from Yale this year, but already she’s making a splash in the art community. With this exhibit, she represents the themes explored in Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man. The exhibition goes through September 14, so this is your last chance to see it! It’s a great way to spend a little time, and the gallery is not quite a mile and a half from Pier 11.

When you’re done at the gallery, come back to take in one of Seastreak’s visible ferries! If you sit up on the deck, you’ll always see where you’re going while you ride on one of our luxurious catamarans.


Sea you soon!

The Seastreak Family



Filed Under: “Visible Man”