Target (In & Out) #7

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  • Condition Report

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  • Provenance

    Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago

  • Catalogue Essay

    JACK WHITTEN
    Born 1939, Bessemer, AL
    Died 2018, New York, NY

    1964 BFA, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York, NY

    Selected honors: Skowhegan Medal for Painting (2017); National Medal of Arts (2016); The Aldrich A2A Award (2017); National Medal of Arts (2015); and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship (1976)
    Selected museum exhibitions and performances: Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MoMA PS1, Queens, NY
    Selected public collections: The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Tate, London


    Jack Whitten, who passed away at age 78 in January 2018, is celebrated for his influential approach to painting. While initially aligned with the New York circle of Abstract Expressionists in the mid-1960s, particularly Willem de Kooning, Whitten became known for his focus on the experimental aspects of process and technique in painting. Fascinated with the materiality of painting at a time when the medium was deemed “dead”, Whitten in the early 1970s fervently sought an alternative approach to art making. As he wrote in 1972: “I’ve done so much. I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried the saw blade, afro comb… To be as clear as possible without becoming confused. I JUST WANT A SLAB OF PAINT.” He achieved his artistic breakthrough with what he called the “developer”, a proprietary floor-based tool that allowed him to quickly spread a layer of acrylic paint onto the canvas with a single gesture – resulting in his signature slab paintings. For the next five decades, Whitten relentlessly pushed his practice to new heights – bridging gestural abstraction with process art, mechanical automation with intensely personal expression.

    “I sincerely believe that in the black community of artists, especially those of us dealing with abstraction, art has to go beyond the general notions of race, gender, nationalism,” he told Art in America magazine in 2013. “Things have evolved to the degree where there is a possibility of a new sensibility out there. We’re into a global aesthetic here, and anyone that doesn’t see that has a real old-fashioned way of thinking.” His all-embracing vision led him to create works on such diverse themes as quantum physics and contemporary events, such as 9/11 or school shootings, as well as experiment with different media. While former President Barack Obama awarded Whitten the National Medal of Arts in 2016, he was profoundly under recognized by the mainstream art world for most of his 55-year career. Most recently, his sculptural output was subject to a major exhibition that travelled from the Baltimore Museum of Art to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2018.

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Target (In & Out) #7

signed, titled, numbered and dated "TARGET (IN & OUT) #7 2011 J. Whitten JW00740D" on the reverse
magnetite and acrylic on rice paper
16 7/8 x 17 in. (42.9 x 43.2 cm.)
Executed in 2011.

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AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN

New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019