Jack Whitten at the Hamburger Bahnhof

Berlin
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Berlin's Hamburger Bahnhof exhibits Jack's Jacks, a major retrospective of the work of contemporary American painter Jack Whitten. The exhibition was conceived of and planned in collaboration with Whitten before he passed away in 2018. It includes works from the entirety of Whitten's career.

Jack's Jacks is one of Tim Marlow's Must-See Exhibitions opening in March. View all of Tim Marlow's March selections here.

Jack Whitten at the Hamburger Bahnhof

  • Exterior View, Hamburger Bahnhof
    The Hamburger Bahnhof is one of Berlin's most popular and respected museums devoted to contemporary art. This March, it opens a major survey of the work of influential American contemporary artist Jack Whitten. Whitten, who passed away in 2018, produced an innovative, influential and diverse body of work, ultimately producing a unique technique and combination of mediums and materials.
  • Photo by Thomas Bruns
    Interior View, Hamburger Bahnhof
    Hamburger Bahnhof has displayed numerous popular and influential exhibitions of contemporary art over the years. It also holds a strong permanent collection, including works by many of the most influential and renowned artists of the late 20th century, including Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol.
  • Photo: John Berens, courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp
    Apps for Obama, 2011
    Acrylic on hollow core door, 213.4 × 231.1 cm. Private collection, Courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.

    Apps for Obama is a characteristic work of Whitten's late period. The piece is constructed not out of paint, as his earlier works were, but out of thousands of small colored tiles and small rocks. The technique is unique to Whitten, whose play on materiality and form is evident throughout his ouevre.
  • Photo: Genevieve Hanson. Courtesy the Jack Whitten Estate and Hauser & Wirth.
    Quantum Wall VIII, (For Arshile Gorky, My First Love in Painting), 2011
    Acrylic on canvas, 122.6 x 122.6 cm.

    Produced in 2017, this was one of Whitten's last works. It explores the possibilities of the tile technique he had developed over the past few years. The work displays a strikingly complex mix of colors and patterns which nonetheless cohere into a sort of monochrome or gradient.
  • Photo: John Berens, courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.
    Zulu Tea Parlor, 1973
    Acrylic on canvas, 181.6 x 152.4 cm. Private collection, Courtesy Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp.

    Zulu Tea Parlor is one of Whitten's earlier pieces, where the inclusion of paint in the mixed media work is still evident, a medium he later abandons in favor of tiles and stones.
  • Photo: John Berens. Courtesy the Jack Whitten Estate and Hauser & Wirth.
    Sweet Little Angel, For B.B. King, 2015
    Acrylic on panel, 114 x 114 x 6 cm.

    One of Whitten's later works, Sweet Little Angel, For B.B. King is startlingly minimal. The almost entirely black panel produces an elegiac, funereal tone, reflecting the death of B.B. King, who passed away during the year of the work's composition. However, the thin trail of changing color which curls through the otherwise black composition evokes the vibrancy and life-affirming spirit of B.B. King's blues, which inspired Whitten and, like Whitten's work, continue to remain moving, inspiring and influential compositions beyond his passing.
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