Opening February 21, Public Art Fund will present Clifford Prince King’s series of 13 new photographs, Let me know when you get home. This tender autobiographical series will be displayed on 330 JCDecaux bus shelters and newsstands across New York, Chicago, and Boston.
For his first public art exhibition, King photographed the people and places he encountered during travels in the summer of 2023. An extension of his autobiographical practice, Let me know when you get home serves as a photo diary of King’s time in artist residencies at BOFFO on Fire Island, Light Work in Syracuse, and 8th House in Vermont, as well as travels throughout São Paulo and the Cayman Islands. During this period of transience, King sought to capture his sources of comfort, companionship, and love. The resulting series explores nature, intimacy, the act of claiming space, and the significance of creating a home.
“Let me know when you get home marks a nomadic period in the artist’s life when the people that surrounded him temporarily became his home. The series serves as a visual journey tracing King’s summer travels, cumulatively revealing a meditative self-portrait,” said Public Art Fund Adjunct Curator Katerina Stathopoulou. “Presented larger-than-life on hundreds of JCDecaux bus shelters and newsstands, King’s arresting portraits gaze directly at the viewer, diminishing the space between audience and subject.”
Based in New York, Clifford Prince King is a self-taught photographer who documents his relationships and experiences as a queer Black man, recording his life and the ways it is shaped by the people that surround him. Growing up in Arizona, King seldom saw his own identity reflected in images or popular films. A desire for representation led him to begin creating deeply personal images that extend an invitation to diverse audiences similarly seeking a sense of belonging, community, and safety.
“This series of works came about during a time in my life when the people, places, and pieces organically fell together to form a new sense of home. Displayed on public bus shelters and newsstands throughout the winter time, these photographs will offer a breath of fresh air, surrender, and release, providing diverse audience members with warmth, tenderness, and an encouragement to embrace and heal from the past,” said King.
King’s photographs capture poignant moments of desire, closeness, and self-realization unfolding in lush natural environments and interior domestic spaces. At once ambiguous and narrative, the photographs take on a cinematic quality, evoking questions of what took place leading up to the image and what will come to pass. Using a 35mm film camera to lend the work a timeless, grainy quality, King bathes his subjects in the warm natural light of summer, capturing them in gentle poses of vulnerability, affection, and contemplation. Among the images unfurling the drama and warmth of relationships are a capoeira dancer caught mid-handstand on a rooftop in São Paolo, a couple standing closely together by the waterfront in the rain, and two lovers kissing while handcuffed off the side of a road, illuminated by car headlights.
The series title, Let me know when you get home, evokes layers of meaning surrounding experiences of affection and shelter. The phrase is an expression of care and concern for loved ones within spaces where safety isn’t guaranteed for members of LGTBQ+ and BIPOC communities. Additionally, it alludes to the exhibition’s presentation on bus shelters, sites for people commuting to and from their residences. Finally, the title also expresses the journey and desire to find a sense of belonging during transient and unmoored life stages.
Exploring companionship and selfhood, King’s six-foot portraits stand as pillars of LGTBQ+ and BIPOC communities, in scenes rich with poetry, release, and contemplation. With this new body of work, King strives to carve out space for people like himself in the city streets, making his subjects unapologetically visible.
Clifford Prince King: Let me know when you get home is curated by Public Art Fund Adjunct Curator Katerina Stathopoulou.
Clifford Prince King: Let me know when you get home will be on view from February 21 to May 26, 2024 on 300 JCDecaux Bus Shelters and 30 Newsstands Citywide throughout New York, Chicago, and Boston.
The exhibition can also be explored anytime, anywhere, on the free Bloomberg Connects app.
About the artist ~ Clifford Prince King (b. 1993, Tucson, Arizona) lives and works in New York City. A self-taught photographer and filmmaker, King documents his personal relationships in traditional, everyday settings that speak on his experiences as a Queer Black man. King takes photos of friends, lovers, and acquaintances, many of whom have significant connections to the sites where they are pictured.
King’s recent solo exhibitions include Hush-a-bye Dreams, Gordon Robichaux, New York, NY (2023); Yesterday and Beyond, Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, Long Beach, CA (2023); RASPBERRY BLOW, Stars Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2022); We Used to Lay Together, Light Work, Syracuse, NY (2021); Where Beauty Softens Your Grief, No Moon, Los Angeles (2021), CA. King’s photographs are in the public collections of the Hammer Museum, Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, ICA Miami, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Studio Museum in Harlem.
Related Free Programming:
Public Art Fund Talks: Clifford Prince King
6:30 pm ET, February 27, 2024
The Cooper Union, Frederick P. Rose Auditorium
Hot Cocoa On-the-Go with Clifford Prince King
March 12, 2024
Public Art Fund and Clifford Prince King will offer commuters a warm welcome at JCDecaux bus shelters in Bushwick featuring King’s work. Further details to be announced.