Jordan Casteel ’14 M.F.A Awarded MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grants

Painter Jordan Casteel ’14 M.F.A is one of three Yale affiliates to be awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship, informally known as the “genius grant.”

Casteel was recognized for “capturing everyday encounters with people and places in works that invite recognition of our shared humanity.” Her paintings feature the people and environments she encounters on the streets of Harlem, in New York City subways, and in her classrooms, among other venues, with the goal of highlighting their vulnerability and affirming their individuality.

She also hopes to broaden the representation of people of color in museum and gallery spaces. From 2016 to 2021 she served as an associate professor of painting at Rutgers University-Newark. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Denver Art Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, and the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, among others.

“I’ve always been curious about people,” said Casteel in the video accompanying her MacArthur biography. “I’ve always wanted painting to be an opportunity to explore, and through that exploration, I want to understand myself and I want to understand others.”

Read more about Yale’s three “genius grant” recipients at this Yale News article.