Robert Pruitt

b. 1975

Born in Houston, Texas in 1975; Lives and works in New York, New York

That sense of the unnatural, the super, the extra-human possibility—I want that to be part of my practice as a way to describe what we could be. — Robert Pruitt



To Control the Universe
Salon 94 89th Street

Robert Pruitt

Ad Infinitum
Freeman Alley

Robert Pruitt

Group Show

Portraiture: A Private Room

The Banner Project
Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Robert Pruitt

California African American Museum

Robert Pruitt


Robert Pruitt was born in 1975 in Houston, Texas. He received his BFA from Texas Southern University (2000) and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin (2003). Pruitt works in a variety of materials, with the focus of his practice centered on rendering large scale figurative portraits. He projects onto his images a juxtaposing series of experiences and material references, denoting a diverse and radical Black past, present and future. Pruitt often utilizes religion, spirituality, signs and symbolic objects throughout his work as a means of exploring a Black American conception of transcendence and mythology.

In April 2022 Pruitt’s work will be included in A Movement in Every Direction: Legacies of the Great Migration, a traveling exhibition beginning in the South at the Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson to the North at the Baltimore Museum of Art (MD). The artist has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, including Guest Minister at Oxbow, Seattle (WA) in 2020; The Banner Project: Robert Pruitt at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MA) in 2019; Devotion at the California African American Museum, Los Angeles in 2018; and Women at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (NY) in 2013, among many others.

Recent group exhibitions include Men of Steel, Women of Wonder at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville (AR) in 2019; and Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem, which traveled to the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco (CA) in 2019; the Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston (SC) in 2019; Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (MI) in 2019; Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton (MA) in 2020; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City in 2021; and the Frye Art Museum, Seattle (WA) in 2021. Pruitt’s work was also featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial.

The artist’s work is in numerous public collections, including the Dallas Museum of Art (TX); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (MA); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (NY); the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (TX); the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham (NC); the Portland Museum of Art (ME); the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (NY); the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin (TX); and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (VA), among others.



On View: ‘Robert Pruitt: To Control the Universe’ at Salon 94 in New York
Victoria L. Valentine

Culture Type

5 artists tell us the hardships—and benefits—of creating in isolation
Ann Binlot

Document Journal

Artists of Color Reflect on Own Identities in "Portraiture: A Private Room"
Gabrielle Leung


Revolutionary African-American men Men of Change: Power, Triumph, Truth
Alec Clayton

The Volcano Weekly

The Potent Realism of Robert Pruitt’s Black Portraiture
Daniel Gerwin