Stanley Whitney


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Stanley Whitney is a contemporary African- American artist born in Philadelphia in 1946. He holds a BFA from Kansas City Art Institute as well as an MFA from Yale University, he then participated in an art program at Skidmore College where he met Philip Guston, whom mentored and guided him. He is currently a professor at Tyler School of Art, Temple University.


Today, any viewer of Stanley Whitney’s paintings is immediately attracted to the magnetism of his irregular grids in vibrant, saturated hues. What is not immediately apparent is the influence on Whitney’s work from his African-American heritage and the jazz clubs he would frequent both in Philadelphia and New York. Describing the analogy between music and his paintings, Whitney likens his process to the call and response structure characteristic of African-American music. He explains, “I start at the top and work down. That gets into call and response. One color calls forth another. Color dictates the structure, not the other way around.”


Select solo exhibitions include 'Focus – Stanley Whtiney' at the Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX, USA (2017) and ‘Dance the Orange' at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY, USA (2015). Whitney has also been included in many prominent group shows, such as 'Inherent Structure', Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, USA (2018); Documenta 14 in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany (2017); ‘Nero su Bianco’ at the American Academy in Rome, Italy (2015); ‘Outside the Lines: Black in the Abstract’, Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, TX, USA (2014); ‘Reinventing Abstraction: New York Painting in the 1980s’, Cheim & Read, New York, NY, USA (2013); and ‘Utopia Station’ at the 50th Venice Biennale (2003). He has won prizes including the Robert De Niro Sr. Prize in Painting (2011), the American Academy of Arts and Letters Art Award (2010) and awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (1996). Whitney’s work is included in public collections around the world, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, KA, USA; the Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA, USA; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, USA.