Whitfield Lovell: Passages, Rizzoli, 2023. Hardcover monograph with contributions by Cheryl Finley and Bridget R. Cooks, edited by Michele Wije. 176 pages with color reproductions.
The most comprehensive survey to date of the contemporary artist Whitfield Lovell, whose poetic and intricately crafted tableaux and installations document and pay tribute to the history and cultural memory of the African American experience.
Whitfield Lovell: Passages accompanies a major traveling exhibition of the artist’s powerful Conté crayon drawings combined with objects to create assemblages and multisensory installations that focus on aspects of Black history, raising questions about identity, memory, and America’s collective heritage. Whitfield Lovell (b. 1959, Bronx), a 2007 MacArthur Foundation fellowship recipient and conceptual artist, creates exquisite drawings inspired by his own collection of vintage photographs of unidentified African Americans taken between the Emancipation Proclamation and the civil rights movement. He pairs his meticulously rendered drawings done on paper or salvaged wooden boards with found objects, creating enigmatic assemblages and stand-alone tableaux that are rich with symbolism and ambiguity and evoke personal memories, ancestral connections, and the collective American past.
This richly illustrated volume features essays by leading scholars that contextualize Lovell’s work through the exploration of compelling elements such as sound and card playing, contemplating memory as method.