Whitfield Lovell: Passages, Major National Tour Kicks Off in South Florida at the Boca Raton Museum of Art. The first stop on the national tour of the landmark exhibition Whitfield Lovell: Passages is in South Florida at the Boca Raton Museum of Art (February 15 – May 21), and will continue across six states throughout the American South and the Midwest. This is the largest exhibition ever presented of Lovell’s work that focuses on lost African American history and raises universal questions about America’s collective heritage. Organized by the American Federation of Arts (AFA) in collaboration with the artist, the exhibition is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Terra Foundation for American Art and encompasses the entire first-floor galleries of the Boca Raton Museum of Art (7,500 square feet). This is the first time these multi-sensory installations by Lovell are presented together in a museum-wide show of this monumental size and scope.
Lovell is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Genius Grant and is recognized as one of the world’s leading artistic interpreters of lost African American history. The internationally acclaimed artist is celebrated for his exquisitely hand-drawn, portraits (many are life-sized), drawn with Conté crayons, from historic photos he finds of anonymous individuals), which the artist combines with his intuitive assemblage of time-worn objects to raise universal questions about memory, American life, and reclaiming lost history that had been erased.
The works in this exhibition are anchored by images of everyday African Americans, from the 1860s to the 1950s (between the Emancipation Proclamation and the start of the Civil Rights Movement), a period of time the artist feels has been overlooked by the art world. Whitfield Lovell: Passages opens with Lovell’s multimedia experience Deep River, honouring the perilous journey enslaved people took crossing the Tennessee River to find asylum at “Camp Contraband” in Chattanooga during the Civil War. The work is inspired by the rich legacy of African American resilience and community building in the passage from slavery to freedom.
The Boca Raton Museum of Art is honoured to be chosen as the first venue to premiere this national museum tour. The exhibition also invites museumgoers to walk through another monumental, immersive installation entitled Visitation: The Richmond Project, which takes up an entire gallery. The artist describes Visitation as being about the nation’s first Black entrepreneurial community who settled in Jackson Ward, Richmond, Virginia, in the 1860s (known alternatively as “Black Wall Street” or “the Harlem of the South,” just blocks from the state capitol).
About the Boca Raton Museum of Art
Boca Raton Museum of Art was established in 1950 as the Art Guild of Boca Raton. Now in its eighth decade, the organization has grown to encompass the Museum, the Art School, and a Sculpture Garden. Celebrated as one of South Florida’s leading cultural landmarks, the Museum provides educational programs and a robust exhibition schedule to the community, and to visitors from around the world.
About the American Federation of Arts
The American Federation of Arts is the leader in travelling exhibitions internationally. A nonprofit organization founded in 1909, the AFA is dedicated to enriching the public’s experience and understanding of the visual arts through organizing and touring art exhibitions for presentation in museums around the world, publishing exhibition catalogues featuring important scholarly research, and developing educational programs.