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An admirer of Matisse’s cut-outs and of Synthetic Cubism, from the mid-1980s he began to borrow images and designs directly from more recent artists. In We Are Not Afraid (1985), he develops Barnett Newman’s zip motif into a spiral; the title is a reply to Newman’s series of paintings Who’s Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue (1966–70). In Defiance (1986), he reinterprets work by Bridget Riley.
His first solo exhibition was in New York in 1982. He has since been included in exhibitions at Carnegie International, two Sydney Bienniales, and three Whitney Bienniales. His work is held in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Taaffe lives and works in New York City.
- "Philip Taaffe, The Life of Forms, works 1980-2008" by Brooks Adams, Holger Broeker, Markus Brüderlin, and Kay Heymer; 2008; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern; ISBN 978-3-7757-2121-9
- "Philip Taaffe, Composite Nature" by Stan Brakage; Peter Blum Editions, 1998, New York, ISBN 0-935875-16-6
- "Philip Taaffe" by Enrique Juncosa, Robert Rosenblum, and Robert Creely; IVAM Center del Carme, Generalitat Valenciana, 2000; ISBN 84-482-2395-0
- "Groveart Online Taaffe, Philip". Retrieved 2007-07-19.
- "Gagosian Gallery - Philip Taaffe". Retrieved 2007-07-19.
- Official Philip Taaffe web site
- Philip Taaffe on Artcyclopedia
- Philip Taaffe on Artnet
- Philip Taaffe at Jablonka Galerie, Berlin
- Philip Taaffe at Luhring Augustine, New York
- Diego Cortez. "Interview with Philip Taaffe". InterviewMagazine. Retrieved 27 March 2012.
- Roberta Smith (March 16, 2007). "Between the Precise Layers, a Cultural Narrative". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2012.