Installation view of Inbox: Whitfield Lovell, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Shown: Whitfield Lovell. Pop/Pistol. 1990. Oilstick and charcoal on paper. Committee on Drawing and Prints Fund, 2016. © 2017 Whitfield Lovell. Courtesy DC Moore Gallery, NY

While much of Whitfield Lovell’s work is based on anonymous photographs, Pop/Pistol is a uniquely personal drawing for the artist. It depicts his grandfather, Eugene Glover, who was shot and killed by muggers while returning home from the bank in 1984. “Every target, every bull’s-eye, every gun and knife holds a personal resonance for me,” Lovell has said, “although I am rarely thinking of or reliving those losses, but rather using these [objects] as symbols for the losses of everyone, the violence we perpetrate upon our fellow human beings, be it physical or verbal, political or psychological.” Set against a vibrant orange field, the profile image of Glover (“Pop”) and the detailed rendering of a gun are surrounded by a text describing the crime that was published in the New York Daily News. By transcribing the impersonal facts of the news story in his own looping script, Lovell reclaims the publicly reported event as an instance of private grief.

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