Henry Taylor B Side
B Side by Henry Taylor is the latest monograph for the Los Angeles-based artist that was produced by the Museum of Contemporary Art in tandem with a solo exhibition from 2022–2023 that surveys 30 years of painting, sculpture, and installation . The catalogue was edited by curator Bennett Simpson, with contributions from Wanda Coleman, Karon Davis, Charles Gaines, Harmony Holiday, Bob Kaufman, Walter Price, Bennett Simpson, and Frances Stark, and Hamza Walker.
Because of Taylor’s deep connections to LA communities, Polymode designed the catalog using two typefaces designed by Los Angeles-based designers. The title, headings, and captions are set in Owners designed by Jeremy Mickel, who based the typeface on local hand-lettered signage he encountered while walking his dog in LA. Taylor often uses hand lettering in his canvases and painted objects that use a mix of humor, irreverence, and expressive form that connects to the san-serif typeface. Owners and Owner text are paired with Reynaldo, designed by Benjamin Woodlock of Abstract Office. Reynaldo is a quirky slab serif that embodies brush strokes and industrial signage aesthetics and includes styles with a reverse italic that connects to Taylor’s idiosyncratic tendencies.
The book cover is bound with black cloth with two paints by Taylor paired with a woven cover material that evokes the materiality of a wide-ranging body of work that celebrates portraits and allegorical tableaux—populated by friends, family members, strangers on the street, athletic stars, and entertainers. Overall the catalogue supports Taylor’s play with historical tropes and modernism’s appropriations of African or African American culture. Taken together, the various strands of Taylor’s practice display a deep observation of Black life in America at the turn of the century while also inviting a humanist fellowship that pushes outward from the particular.