Radcliffe Bailey was trained as a sculptor but he does not identify with one specific label as he refers to himself plainly as: an artist, taking on the tasks of the painter, the sculptor, and the political activist. So he works within the convergence of painting and sculpture, utilising found materials, such as vintage photographs of his family, vinyl records, piano keys, Georgia red clay, and bottle-caps. Thematically, his art explores the intersection of ancestry, race and cultural memory. In his words: “My art is about history and the mystery of history. Scientists, preachers, tricksters, they are my muses.”
In 2003, he adopted a style of art conceptually inspired by Kongo minkisi, which he described as being "medicine cabinet sculptures". As a result, his work has been described as being three-dimensional and layered, incorporating elements of smell and sound. Bailey described his creative process and fascination with the connection between past and present, stating: “The day by day experience of art, even though my work may seem to have this layer of history, it is also a cover for what I’m dealing with on a day to day. It’s very much about today. We were talking about where I go next: I’m still thinking about today and yesterday and what’s coming in front of me tomorrow."
2019 – 2020
- Vessel III, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut, May 10, 2019 – March 15, 2020.
- The Ocean Between, MARUANI MERCIER Gallery, Brussels
- Travelogue, Jack Shainman Gallery, The School, Kinderhook, New York, May 20 – October 6, 2018.
- Radcliffe Bailey: Pensive, The Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina, April 27 – September 16, 2018.
- Radcliffe Bailey: The Great Dismal Swamp, The Greater Reston Arts Center, Reston, Virginia, April 21 – August 18, 2017.
- Radcliffe Bailey: Pensive, SCAD Museum of Art, Walter O. Evans Gallery, Savannah, GA, November 10, 2016 – February 5, 2017.
- Radcliffe Bailey: QUEST, Jack Shainman Gallery, 513 West 20th Street, New York, NY, April 28 – June 23, 2016.
- Radcliffe Bailey, Samson Projects, Boston, Massachusetts, April 1 – May 28, 2016.
- Radcliffe Bailey: Notes, Big Pond Artworks, Munich, Germany, November 11 – December 23, 2015.
- Radcliffe Bailey: Recent Works, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 7 – June 7, 2015.
Radcliffe Bailey: Storm at Sea, Fine Arts Center Gallery, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, January 26 – February 20, 2015.
Akron Museum of Art, Akron, Ohio
Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, Tennessee
Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama
Columbus Museum, Columbus, Georgia
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Dallas Museum of Art, Texas
Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley College, Massachusetts
Denver Art Museum, Colorado
Embassy of the United States of America, Kampala, Uganda
Embassy of the United States of America, Rabat, Morocco
Hammonds House, Atlanta, Georgia
Harvard University Art Collection, Cambridge, Massachusetts
High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia
McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, Canada
McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas
Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
New Britain Museum of Art, Connecticut
Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia
Sheldon Museum of Art, Lincoln, Nebraska
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Studio Museum Harlem, New York, NY
Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia
Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas
Universty Museum of Contemporary Art at UMass Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, Virginia
William Benton Museum of Art, Storrs, Connecticut
Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, North Carolina