Not only does Barron Claiborne’s work deal with myth as a concept, but the artist has become a mythic figure himself. In 1997, Claiborne famously photographed the rapper Biggie Smalls just three days before his death.
For only $400 dollars Creationism is a bargain. Prints of Claiborne’s Biggie Smalls portraits sold at a starting price of $3,000-$5,000 each in 2015.
Not a fan of Old Masters? Creationism “blings” out the classical theme of Genesis: humanity—represented by the five nude dolls depicted above—is literally born from the palm of a golden hand.
Creationism is both a “classic Claiborne” and unique within his practice. The artist is most well-known for elevating his predominantly African-American subjects to kings, queens, saints, and goddesses in his large-scale portraits. In this way, Creationism reflects Claiborne’s ongoing interest in myth, ritual, and his obsession with gold. However, the sardonic and disturbing use of five nude baby dolls in this “sacred” piece represents a unique turn towards dark humor in his usually reverent practice.