Paul Mpagi Sepuya (b. 1982, San Bernardino, CA) is an artist working in photography whose projects weave together histories and possibilities of portraiture, queer and homoerotic networks of production and collaboration, and the material and conceptual potential of blackness at the heart of the medium. His interests also include queer literary modernism, questions of artistic responsibility and care regarding representation and refusal.
Sepuya received an MFA in photography at UCLA in 2016. From 2000 - 2014 Sepuya lived and worked in New York City, receiving a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2004. Sepuya became known for his 2005 - 2007 zine series “SHOOT” and body of work, “Beloved Object & Amorous Subject, Revisited” (2005-8), along with participation and collaborations in the re-emergence of queer zines culture of the 2000s. He went on to participate in Artist-in-Residence programs at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, The Studio Museum in Harlem and Fire Island Artist Residency.
Sepuya’s work is in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, MOCA Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Getty Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the ICA Boston, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the International Center for Photography, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Carnegie Museum, among others. Solo museum exhibitions include “Double Enclosure” at Fotomuseum Amsterdam (2018), “Drop Scene” at Bemis Center for Contempoary Arts (2020), and “Paul Mpagi Sepuya,” a survey of work from 2006 - 2018 presented at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and University of Houston Blaffer Art Museum, and accompanied by a monograph published by CAM St. Louis and Aperture Foundation. Recent museum exhibitions also include a project for the 2019 Whitney Biennial, “Being: New Photography 2018” at the Museum of Modern Art, “Trigger” at the New Museum New York City, and group exhibitions at the Walker Art Center, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Getty Museum.
Sepuya’s work has been covered and published in ARTFORUM, Aperture, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Art Review, Frieze, Art in America, Monocle, Osmos, The Nation, and The Guardian among others. He was a recipient of the 2019 Rauschenberg Residency. He is Acting Associate Professor in Media Arts at the University of California San Diego and has taught at CalArts and Bard MFA.