Oral history interview with Jack Whitten, 2009 December 1-3
Whitten, Jack, 1939-
Richards, Judith Olch, 1947-
Place of publication, production, or execution:
New York (State)
Transcript: 130 pages.
Originally recorded on 7 memory cards. Reformated in 2010 as 7 digital wav files. Duration is 6 hr., 25 min.
An interview of Jack Whitten conducted 2009 December 1 and 3, by Judith Olch Richards, for the Archives of American Art, at Whitten's studio, in Woodside, N.Y.
Whitten speaks of his childhood in Bessemer, Alabama; being an African-American in the segregated South; his time at the Tuskegee Institute and Southern University; his participation in a civil rights march; the influence of jazz; his time at Cooper Union in New York, the abstract expressionists of New York including Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and Phillip Guston; his teaching at Cooper Union and School of Visual Arts; his 9/11 experience and the memorial that it led him to create; how his work varies between his summers in Greece and his studio time in New York; movement of his work from figurative expressionism to process painting and experimentation and how it fits between form and meaning; the concepts of horizontality, non-relational abstraction, and third-wave modernism; the galleries of the Horodner Romley, Daniel Weinberg, Alexander Grey, Thomas Flor, and other spaces; Whitten also recalls Leo Amino, Bob Blackburn, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Norman Lewis, Wayne Theibaud, Bob Thompson and others.
Quotes and excerpts must be cited as follows: Oral history interview with Jack Whitten, 2009 December 1-3. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Funding for this interview was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Interviewee Jack Whitten (1939- ) is an American abstract painter in Woodside, N.Y. Interviewer Judith Olch Richards (1947- ) is former Executive director of iCI in New York, N.Y.
This interview is part of the Archives of American Art Oral History Program, started in 1958 to document the history of the visual arts in the United States, primarily through interviews with artists, historians, dealers, critics and administrators.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, 750 9th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20001