Doctoral candidate Karli Wurzelbacher recently assisted the Baltimore Museum of Art for their upcoming exhibition, “Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963-2017,” opening April 22. As a Research Fellow for the BMA in 2016-2017, Wurzelbacher contributed several catalog entries to the exhibition’s accompanying publication, interviewed and recorded the artist for exhibition audio guide tours, and contributed to the installation design and wall text.
Known for expanding genres and embracing experimentation, Jack Whitten’s long career began with abstract expressionist paintings, and later delved into portraits of prominent black historical figures, as well as reactions to significant events like the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2012 shooting in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Co-organized with the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the exhibition at the BMA will focus on a rarely seen facet of Whitten’s work, as it will be the first dedicated to Whitten’s sculpture.
The exhibition will also feature works of influence for the artist. Wurzelbacher explains, “the show includes ten African sculptures and four objects on loan from the Minoan and Cycladic collection at the Walters [Art Museum].” These works were highly influential for Whitten, some of which he saw while living on the Greek island of Crete for several summers.
Wurzelbacher is not the only UD Art History member with a hand in this exhibition. “Odyssey” was also co-curated by alumna Kelly Baum, the Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon Polsky Curator of Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition will travel to the Met Breuer in the fall. Katy Siegel, BMA Senior Programming and Research Curator and Thaw Chair in Modern American Art at Stony Brook University co-curated the exhibition with Baum.
The BMA will host an opening celebration on Sunday, April 22 from 1pm to 5pm. This free event will include live music, food, storytelling, and art activities. “Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963-2017” will continue through July 29, 2018.