Art Feature: Whitfield Lovell

During my recent visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in DC, I was overwhelmed with the thoroughly curated exhibits and I've been slowly digesting everything over the last week. One installation in particular I can't seem to get out of my head: The Card Series by Whitfield Lovell.

Whitfield Lovell's The Card Series II: The Rounds, 2006-11

| Charcoal on paper. This exhibit is on display at the NMAAHC in Washington, DC.

With my peaked interest, I decided to dive a little deeper into his previous exhibitions and have to say, am completely floored.  

Born in Brooklyn, this 57-year-old, educationally trained artist found his deep connection to African-American history and art after a visit to a slaver's home in Italy where he saw 'grotesque images' of Africans throughout the slave master's home. It was in that same home that Lovell created his first installation directly on the walls of the home to give the Slave ancestors a 'true voice.' 

 "The importance of home, family, ancestry feeds my work entirely. African Americans were generally not aware of who their ancestors were, since slaves were sold from plantation to plantation and families were split up. Any time I pick up one of these old vintage photographs, I have the feeling that this could be one of my ancestors."

—Whitfield Lovell

Kin L (Ego), 2008

Kin VI (Adorada), 2008

 Kin III (Canto), 2008

Kin VII (Scent of Magnolia), 2008

|  Works on paper, Conte crayon on paper with various media

Autour Du Monde, 2008 | Conte crayon on wood with globes

This last work was created using a technique based off of the 1920's surrealist palor game "cadavre exquise," a drawing that combines words and/or images by multiple artists on one sheet of paper. The project celebrates the theme of chance encounters, surprise and radical juxtaposition.

Each artist adds to the composition, in sequence, without seeing the contribution of the previous person. The chance juxtaposition of images and styles results in a work that is both unexpected and amusing. Each drawing is a combination of the work of three or four artists. 

 Exquisite Corpse 127, ca. 2011

| Mixed Media on Paper, Signed | (Top-Bottom) Whitfield Lovell - Graphite; Jessica Stockholder - Watercolor, Crayon, Pen, Pencil; Mariko Mori - Mixed Media