Clifford Prince King’s Moving Portraits of Black, Queer Intimacy
British Journal of Photography - The photobooks not to miss this autumn
Clifford Prince King moved to Orange Grove in 2016 with friend and collaborator Malcolm Marquez. They shared a warm two-bedroom in the Burbank hills, tucked into a leafy courtyard within walking distance of the Sprouts, where King worked the early shift.
The photographs from this time detail the spectrum of exploration, bliss, and transformation that comes with burgeoning queerness in a new creative, social, and physical landscape that shaped the ethos of these two artists’ creative practices.
Orange Grove is dark and handsome, filled with King’s warm and intricate portraits that flow like tapestries while witnessing lovers and friends in the ether of vulnerability. With eyes wrapped around each other, King’s portraits remind the viewer that sex and intimacy are intrinsically collaborations.
King makes the everyday transparent while embracing the fantasy of the daydream. Romance in Libra demands balance, doesn’t it? A night comes and goes, but what if the moment could last forever? Fingers interlaced, a slow dance in the kitchen, post-hookup eyes.
Orange Grove is an orbital chart filled with many lives and connections. King is not the center, but he touches all as he traverses new realities of desire and intimacy. Woven into the narrative is King’s 2018 HIV diagnosis, and the subsequent shifts in the body that illness brings. Sheets dampened from night sweats transpose to pills on two tongues and an arm around the shoulder.
A bedroom is a place of mending, dreaming, and f**king. Orange Grove was a home. An altar to domesticity washed in the spirit of an evolving understanding of what is queer and black and masculine (not necessarily in that order).
You’re invited in. You’re taken care of. There are books you’ve never read, knick knacks on the shelf, a meal placed before you. Lay down on the floor and gaze around or you’ll miss what’s present. King holds his own dearly with intrigue and grace. Orange Grove captures with precision the wonder of companionship and the beauty of developing selfhood.
- Syd Haliburton
Clifford Prince King is an artist living and working in New York and Los Angeles.
King documents his intimate relationships in traditional, everyday settings that speak on his experiences as a queer black man. In these instances, communion begins to morph into an offering of memory; it is how he honors and celebrates the reality of layered personhood. Within King's images are nods to the beyond. Shared offerings to the past manifest in codes hidden in plain sight, known only to those who sit within a shared place of knowledge.
Public collections holding his work include the Hammer Museum, Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Arts, ICA Miami, Minneapolis Institute of Art and Studio Museum in Harlem.
King has recently exhibited work at Jeffrey Deitch Gallery (Los Angeles), Higher Pictures (New York City), Leslie Lohman Museum (New York City), Light Work (Syracuse, NY), MASS MoCA, Marc Selwyn Gallery (Beverly Hills), and Stars Gallery (Los Angeles).
Publications carrying King’s images as commissioned work and features include Aperture, BUTT, Cultured, Dazed, i-D, Interview, T Magazine, The New York Times, Vice, Vogue and The Wall Street Journal.
- comes with signed 4x6 digital C print
- 24 cm x 28 cm
- 92 pages, 45 color images
- foil stamped hardcover with color tip-in image
- ISBN 9781943146321
- Standard Edition in slipcase with tip-in image
- 8x10 archival inkjet print
- Edition of 20, with 5 APs