In Conversation: ‘Jack Whitten: Notes from the Woodshed’

  • Thu 30 August 2018
  • 6.30 – 8.30 pm

Please join us in the Hauser & Wirth Publishers Bookshop for a conversation in celebration of the recent publication ‘Jack Whitten. Notes from the Woodshed.’ Participants including writer Hettie Jones; Randy Kennedy, Director of Special Projects at Hauser & Wirth; Courtney J. Martin, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at Dia Art Foundation; and artist Cullen Washington will each read selected excerpts and discuss the ways in which Whitten’s practice intertwined with his daily life.

About ‘Jack Whitten. Notes from the Woodshed’ Widely celebrated for his experimental approach to painting, Jack Whitten often turned to writing as a way to investigate, understand, and grapple with his practice and his milieu. ‘Notes from the Woodshed’ is the first publication devoted to Whitten’s writings and takes its name from the heading Whitten scrawled across many of his texts.

Working across various forms – from meticulous daily logs, to developed longer essays, to published statements and public talks – Whitten’s reflections span the course of his five decade career and give conceptual depth to an oeuvre that bridged rhythms of gestural abstraction and process art. Together, these writings shed light on Whitten’s singularly nuanced language of painting, which hovers between mechanical automation and intensely personal expression.

About the Participants Hettie Jones is best known for ‘How I Became Hettie Jones,’ her memoir of the Beat Scene. She has published 26 books for children and adults, the first in 1971 and the most recent in 2016.  ‘Drive,’ her first poetry collection, won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber Award and was followed by ‘All Told and Doing 70.’ Jones has also written memoirs for others, including Rita Marley (‘No Woman No Cry’).  She has taught poetry, fiction, and memoir in colleges and community settings, and from 1988 until 2002 ran a weekly writing workshop at New York State’s Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women. Jones is the former Chair of PEN’s Prison Writing Committee, and currently teaches Activist Literature in the Graduate Writing Program at The New School, and a writing workshop for women at the Howl Arts Gallery. She has just finished ‘Full Tilt,’ a collection of new and selected poems, and ‘Race Tracks,’ a story collection.  Jones has lived in the East Village since before it acquired that name, and has never considered moving.

Randy Kennedy is director of special projects at Hauser & Wirth. Previously, he was a staff writer at The New York Times, where he worked for 23 years, more than half of that time writing about the art world. He is the author of the novel ‘Presidio,’ published in 2018 by Simon & Schuster, and a collection of essays, ‘Subwayland: Adventures in the World Beneath New York,’ published in 2004 by St. Martins Press. He was born and raised in rural West Texas and now lives in Brooklyn.

Courtney J. Martin is the Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Dia Art Foundation. Prior to Dia, she was an assistant professor in the History of Art and Architecture department at Brown University. She received a doctorate from Yale University for her research on British art. In 2012, she curated ‘Drop, Roll, Slide, Drip…Frank Bowling’s Poured Paintings 1973-1978’ at Tate Britain and in 2015, ‘Robert Ryman’ at Dia: Chelsea.  She is co-editor of ‘Lawrence Alloway: Critic and Curator’ (2015) and editor of ‘Four Generations: The Joyner Giuffrida Collection of Abstract Art’ (2016).  In 2018, she will oversee exhibitions of works by Blinky Palermo, Keith Sonnier and Andy Warhol at Dia.

Cullen Washington Jr. utilizes the grid to communicate humanity and interconnectedness. He describes his collage abstract paintings as non-representational fields of activity. Washington has shown nationally and internationally. Selected exhibitions include The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Saatchi Gallery London, The Studio Museum in Harlem., and the Academy of Arts and Letters, NY. Washington has been a resident at The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He is the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Award and in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Charles Saatchi Gallery, Joyner/Giuffrida Collection, and the Alexandria Museum of Art, Louisiana. Washington will be a 2018 resident at The Joan Mitchell Foundation in New Orleans, and will be the inaugural artist in residence at ArcAthens in Athens, Greece.

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