Two artists. Two exhibitions. One Ticket. Your ticket includes access to both Whitfield Lovell: Passages and Benjamin Wigfall and Communications Village.
Be transported by Whitfield Lovell’s evocative multisensory installations, conté drawings, and assemblages. Whitfield Lovell: Passages is the most comprehensive exhibition to date of this renowned contemporary artist’s works, which contemplate the ordinary lives and extraordinary journeys of the African American experience while raising universal questions about identity, memory, and America’s collective heritage.
Born in The Bronx, Lovell, a 2007 MacArthur Fellowship recipient and conceptual artist, creates exquisite drawings inspired by photographs of unidentified African Americans taken between the Emancipation Proclamation and the civil rights movement. He creates assemblages by pairing his drawings (on paper or on salvaged wooden boards) with found objects. He incorporates those assemblages into his installations or presents them as enigmatic stand-alone tableaux that are rich with symbolism and ambiguity. Two immersive installations, Deep River and Visitation: The Richmond Project, begin and end the exhibition experience respectively. Also on view are his acclaimed Kin series, as well as his more recent works, the Red series and Card Pieces series.
Lovell’s immersive, multisensory installation Deep River (2013) is a monumental work that features video projections, sound, and everyday objects. Documenting the perilous journey freedom seekers took by crossing the Tennessee River during the Civil War, Deep River addresses that struggle for freedom and its inherent themes of abandonment, death, life, and hope. However, Lovell invites viewers to contemplate the larger human quest for equality and the pursuit of a better life—themes that transcend time and geography.
Visitation: The Richmond Project appears at the end of the exhibition and is a profound homage to Richmond’s Jackson Ward neighborhood. The installation includes locally sourced objects that the artist collected with Virginia Commonwealth University students in 2001. Lovell pays tribute to the lives, names, and faces that were the people of Jackson Ward, giving the country’s first major African American entrepreneurial community its rightful place in the history of America.
Whitfield Lovell: Passages is organized by the American Federation of Arts in collaboration with Whitfield Lovell. Major support for the national tour and exhibition catalogue are provided by National Endowment for the Arts and the Terra Foundation for American Art. The exhibition is organized for VMFA by Alexis Assam, Regenia A. Perry Assistant Curator of Global Contemporary Art.
Community Foundation for a greater Richmond
Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment
Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Garner, Jr.
Dr. and Mrs. William V. Garner
Julia Louise Reynolds Fund
Bank of America
Elisabeth Shelton Gottwald Fund
The Francena T. Harrison Foundation
Mr. and Mrs. R. Augustus Edwards III
The Doris Glisson Memorial Fund
Alexandria Rogers McGrath
Richmond (VA) Chapter, The Links, Incorporated
VMFA Council Exhibition Fund
VMFA is also grateful to the following sponsors:
Van Baskins and Marc Purintun | Anne Battle and Leonard Slater | Susan L. Buck in memory of Ed Chappell | Drs. Betty Neal Crutcher and Ronald A. Crutcher | Molly Dodge | Sally and Mike Hunnicutt | Michelle and John Nestler | Paula Saylor-Robinson and Danny Robinson | Paul and Nancy Springman | Stephen L. and Harriet Heldenfels Yake | Sam and Nikki Young
Marketing support for special exhibitions is provided by the Charles G. Thalhimer Fund.
This list represents sponsors as of April 17, 2023.
Kin II (Oh Damballa) (detail), 2008, Whitfield Lovell (American, born Bronx, NY), conté on paper, paper flags, 30 x 22 1/2 in., Mott-Warsh Collection