Jack Whitten. Atopolis: For Édouard Glissant. 2014

Jack Whitten Atopolis: For Édouard Glissant 2014

  • MoMA, Floor 2, 215

In the 1980s, Whitten invented his trademark “paint as collage” process, as he calls it. The artist mixes acrylic medium gels, varnishes, and binders with powder pigment to produce small pieces of dried acrylic paint, then layers them, mosaic-like, onto canvases. The title of this artwork, Whitten’s largest piece, includes the word atopolis, Greek for “without place,”
a reference to the ideas of the Martiniquais philosopher and poet Édouard Glissant. “It is a powerful concept for members of the African diaspora,” Whitten notes. “Black identity has been linked to our not having a ‘sense of place.’ This ‘sense of place’ for us had to be created through hard work involving all of our faculties of being.”

Gallery label from 2019
Acrylic on canvas, 8 panels
Overall 124 1/2 × 248 1/2" (316.2 × 631.2 cm)
Acquired through the generosity of Sid R. Bass, Lonti Ebers, Agnes Gund, Henry and Marie-Josée Kravis, Jerry Speyer and Katherine Farley, and Daniel and Brett Sundheim
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

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