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Feb. 3 Art Minute: Alvin Loving, Dan

Art Minute, Art of the Week, toledo museum of art
Alvin Loving (American, 1935–2005), Dan. Acrylic on paper and cardboard, 1973. National Endowment for the Arts Museum Purchase Plan Program and matching funds from an anonymous donor, 1975.8. Gallery 23A

When he rose to prominence in the 1960s, Detroit-born African American abstract artist Al Loving’s work was characterized by careful and calculated studies of pure geometric forms. The work on display here, Dan, was created at a pivotal turning point in his career—when Loving began to abandon his signature aesthetic in favor of more fluid, large-scale works, often composed through the layering of ripped and painted cardboard.

About his work during this period, Loving said, “I usually work on five or six pieces at a time, and usually I’m dealing with some particular question. What I’m doing now is dealing with shape and color. How do you deal with one and not destroy the other? ... for the first three or four days that I’m working on something, I know that none of this is going to be visible when it’s finished. Then I reach the point where the real question of why I painted this particular picture arises. That’s the part I like; it concerns the final placement of things. Art is making things and placement. ”

This work is currently on view in the exhibition "Everything is Rhythm": Mid-century Art and MusicThe exhibition closes on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020.