First Exhibition Of Jack Whitten's Sculptures Debuts At Baltimore Museum Of Art

First Exhibition Of Jack Whitten's Sculptures Debuts At Baltimore Museum Of Art

On April 22, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) will present the very first exhibition of Jack Whitten's sculptures: Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963-2017.

Odyssey examines the late artist's sculptural practice, which spans 50 years of Whitten's career and 40 works. Co-curated by Katy Siegel, BMA Senior Programming and Research Curator and Thaw Chair in Modern American Art at Stony Brook University, and Kelly Baum, Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Curator of Contemporary Art at The Met, these works will be shown alongside African, Minoan, and Cycladic sculptures - all inspirations for the contemporary artist. They represent entirely unknown experimentations by Whitten in wood, marble, copper, bone, and stone.

Whitten's desire to sculpt grew out of his summer trips to Crete with his wife and his belief that African sculpture was a vital inheritance for artists coming out of the African diaspora. For Whitten, sculpting wasn't just experimentation with a New Medium, but a means of understanding and connecting himself to the aesthetic, spiritual, and social meaning of African art. As part of Odyssey, Whitten's sculptures will be additionally exhibited alongside his Black Monoliths series, united for the first time, to demonstrate how sculpture inspired some of the paintings that he is most well-known for. The series of paintings honors African American cultural figures such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Muhammad Ali, and Maya Angelou, among others.

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