‘Jack Whitten. Self Portrait With Satellites’ is a commemorative survey celebrating Jack Whitten’s (1939 – 2018) innovative transfiguration of paint and his profound ability to materialize philosophical, scientific, and mathematical concepts through abstraction. This landmark presentation is the first exhibition in LA devoted to the artist in nearly 30 years, and brings together self-portraits and paintings from Whitten’s personal collection, many of which will be shown for the first time.
A voyage across various permutations of abstraction that span the artist’s entire career, the selection offers an intimate glimpse into Whitten’s core belief in art, his deep philosophical concerns, and the people that inspired him. ‘All of my memorial paintings are gifts to the people that inspired them…’ Whitten wrote in a studio note from 2012, ‘they are not mere dedications… they are gifts.’ On view will be works that pay homage to his creative influences, such as Allen Ginsberg, Robert Rauschenberg, and Wayne Thiebaud, in addition to paintings honoring his family, including his mother, father, brother, daughter, and wife. The exhibition also includes the last work the artist made before his death, ‘Quantum Wall, VIII (For Arshile Gorky, My First Love In Painting)’ (2017).
Enriching our understanding of the works in this exhibition, Hauser & Wirth Publishers will present a new release – ‘Jack Whitten. Notes from the Woodshed’ – which collects Whitten’s studio writings and other texts from the artist’s six-decade career. Edited by Katy Siegel, this publication presents Whitten’s relentless artistic experimentation in the studio, exploring the way his practice intertwined with his daily life. Alongside transcriptions of these documents, selections are reproduced in facsimile, giving a feel for the studio and the way Whitten’s creative nature pervaded all aspects of his world.