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Creative Genius Edition

King’s Garden #6, 1968. Watercolor on paper. 57.3 x 78.7 cm / 22 1/2 x 31 in. Jack Whitten. © Jack Whitten Estate. Courtesy The Jack Whitten Estate and Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Genevieve Hanson

Sometimes you find an artist who really understands the challenge of creating: that continuous, obsessive practice of technique must try to keep up with a person’s constant redefinition of their ideas. That early work is a springboard, not something to endlessly repeat in the full Pantone spectrum, and later work is the natural evolution of learning combined with fresh insights. In Jack Whitten. Transitional Space. A Drawing Survey. from Hauser & Wirth we see an artist who tested his knowledge continuously: moving to and around abstract ideas, changing materials to suit the concepts and intentions of his work, going from large to very large surfaces, back down to up close and personal, in a career spanning 60-plus years. Many influences are in this show, from Gorky and De Kooning to African American history and political thought, all poured into Whitten’s work; shaping and defining the world around him in ways that give clarity to an emotional content within his subjects and interpretation of events. For more details about this show, click on the ‘Opening This Week’ tab.

Alfred Jarry (1873–1907), “Ubu roi,” in Livre d’Art no. 2 (April 1896). The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Robert J. and Linda Klieger Stillman, 2017. PML 197088. Photography by Janny Chiu, 2019.

Not many people know the name of Alfred Jarry but they’ve seen his influence in everything from advertising to memes. He was a critic, playwright, poet, novelist, artist, inventor of a philosophical movement, and graphic designer (among other things) who died at age 34 of tuberculosis with complications caused by alcoholism. He was also notorious in his time as a transgressor of nearly every tenet of polite society, although nowadays a person would have to do a lot more to gain his level of fame. His best known work is Ubu Roi, a play that very nearly defies description (basically, it’s a satire of power and greed) but has travelled down through time as a template of artistic rebellion and criticism. Alfred Jarry: The Carnival of Being at The Morgan Library & Museum, is a comprehensive treatment of his work and influence on Dada, Surrealism, and the Theater of the Absurd as well as the artists of today. More details can be found in the ‘Gallery Shows’ section.

There’s also a new section on the website, ’31 Days of Art’. It’s a collection of all our Twitter recommendations for January 2020 with information on museums, websites, and ways to learn about art. Try downloading a few of the podcasts before your next commute to entertain you while traveling or watch the videos at the gym.