Cleansing the Ills of the Past

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Whitfield Lovell, Restoreth, 2001. Charcoal on wood and found objects. Courtesy DC Moore Gallery © Whitfield Lovell and DC Moore Gallery, New York

This tableaux was originally created as part ofWhitfield Lovell’s installation Visitation, which explored the history of the Jackson Ward historic district in Richmond, Virginia, the first black entrepreneurial community in the United States, commonly described as the Harlem of the South.

Restoreth, as the artist once explained, “evolved . . . out of a need for reconciliation. For me, it bridges the abyss between slavery and the height of Jackson Ward’s heyday. The image is from a tintype of an older black woman. The work includes 33 medicine bottles—pills, powders, ointments, and tonics—that represent the elements of healing and fortification. The juxtaposition of these objects with the image of this powerful woman suggests a kind of protection from, and cleansing of, the ills of the past, while also alluding to Hoodoo practices that came from African customs.”

Whitfield Lovell: The Kin Series and Related Works is on view through Jan. 8, 2017.

ArtGrams: Whitfield Lovell

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Instagrammer @bmpashle snapped a photo of this visitor with Whitfield Lovell’s Kin VI (Nobody), 2008 at left and Kin XLIX (The Well), 2011 at right.

Since the exhibition’s opening, we’ve seen tons of creative photos of Whitfield Lovell‘s Kin series and tableaux works. Highlighting a few of our favorites for this month’s ArtGrams! Share your photos in and around the museum for a chance to be featured on the blog.

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Whitfield Lovell’s Rice Barton Series, 2004, as photographed by @risunshine143.

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“Got to see some amazing pieces @PhillipsCollection today during my lunch break including this (Whitfield Lovell, Fortune, 2000). Photo: IG/chelloanne

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“Sound traveling w/ 37 vintage radios. Making waves 🌊” Instagrammer (and Phillips Museum Assistant/emerging artist) @joelvincii pictured here with Whitfield Lovell’s After an Afternoon, 2008.

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Of Lovell’s “At Home and Abroad” (2008), Instagrammer @benevelint notes: “Still relevant / sad reality”

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Phillips Manager of Public Engagement and Instagrammer @kkdaley28 snapped this photo of Lovell’s Dawn to Dawn (2006) during opening week

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Photo: IG/tkgphoto

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Lovell’s Kin IX (To Make Your False Heart True), 2008. Photo: IG/artistjuliakwon

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Accompanying this photo of Whitfield Lovell’s Cage (2001), Instagrammer @tohmase pairs the caption: “The first act of liberation is to destroy one’s own cage” – Michael S. Harper

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Love this perspective from Instagrammer @baeyahh

 

ArtGrams is a monthly series in which we feature our favorite Instagrammed pictures taken around or inspired by the museum. Each month, we’ll feature a different theme based on trends we’ve seen in visitor photos. Hashtag your images with #PhillipsCollection or tag your location for a chance to be featured.

Finding Inspiration in a Deck of Cards

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Selections from Whitfield Lovell’s Card series. Left to right: Untitled (Card XXXVII), 2005; Untitled (Card XXXVIII), 2005; Untitled (Card LI), 2006; Untitled (Card XXII), 2003; Untitled (Card XLIX), 2006

 

These five small-scale works on paper are part of Whitfield Lovell’s first Card series, in which he paired an intricately detailed hand drawn face with each of the deck’s 52 rectangular cards. As the artist has noted, the Card series was an important precursor to his Kin series:

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Whitfield Lovell’s “Card Series II” on view at National Museum of African American History and Culture

“I had been making these little drawings on tan paper long enough that . . . it was natural to bump up the scale and proceed from there. I just wouldn’t have started the Kin series had I not been working on the Card series for so long. Drawing with that degree of detail is not something I would start doing suddenly overnight.”

After completing his first Card series, the artist embarked on a second Card series, this time with a deck of round playing cards. Concurrent with this exhibition, you may see Lovell’s round Card series as part of the collection of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Whitfield Lovell: The Kin Series and Related Works is on view through Jan. 8, 2017.