Hamburger Bahnhof - Nationalgalerie der Gegenwart
Invalidenstr. 50/51
10557 Berlin

Perspective Shift at Jack Whitten retrospective

This contribution to the mediation program of Hamburger Bahnhof was less hagiographic than critical, using Jack Whitten's artistic position within the NY art world of his time as a source of reflexion. Four approaches were initated:

1/ Theoretical sketching of 20th century art-field difference between avant-garde modernist production and aims (based on the writings of artists and philosophers)
PDF Modernism/Avant-Garde Chiasmus

2/ Consideration of the field of NY modernist discourse and production as a collective endeavor of ideological stabilization and commodification

3/ A reading of Jack Whitten's writings in Notes From the Woodshed, grouping his diary-statements into decade-spanning thematic clusters – to understand his works and the Berlin exhibition, and to throw light on 2/
PDF Reading of Jack Whitten's writings

4/ Citing of examples challenging and contesting modernism within the art-field and cultural production more broadly; issues of race/gender/class-exclusion and visibility, art-work presence, means of distribution; the following as case studies contemporary to and distinct in approach from Jack Whitten:

the Black Emergency Cultural Coalition,
Lorraine O'Grady,
Amiri Baraka,
Stanley Brouwn.
PDF Whitten and contemporaries

There was also consideration given to the contestations and conflicts occuring within field of jazz itself during the1960s and '70s and the role of jazz in Whitten's artistic project, his writing on the topic and his own shifting taste in jazz. To this extent sound-clips of the music of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Eric Dolphy were played in the exhibition space
PDF Miles Davis contra Eric Dolphy

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