(b. 1989, Denver, Colorado; lives and works in New York, New York)
Minnesota, 2020. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan, New York
Minnesota, 2020, as part of my ongoing Subway Series, depicts a man, unknown to me, seen during my commute several months back. The word “Minnesota” is printed across his hat in bold letters. At the time, I didn’t process this language as anything more than a state. Now, this place couldn’t feel more meaningful—as the home state of George Floyd, whose wrongful death has forced a global reckoning with systematic racial inequities. Sometimes it feels like coincidence or a conjuring, and then I remember that my community has been speaking for a long time with intense clarity. These moments are right in front of us. We just have to be ready to receive them.
Jordan Casteel is a participant in Art on the Grid, a citywide, open-air exhibition presented by Public Art Fund. Conceived in the spring of 2020, the exhibition features 50 artists’ reflections on the converging crises of the coronavirus pandemic and systemic racism in our country.