Jack Whitten was a famous American painter, born in Alabama in 1939. At this period, segregation and Jim Crow laws were still in place. Although he was planning on becoming an army doctor, after traveling to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speak in Montgomery in the 50’s, he was inspired to study art and join the civil rights movement. He was influenced by other expressionists of the period, such as de Kooning. His paintings greatly contributed to the abstract expressionist movement in America, and his work was celebrated at the Whitney Museum in New York and in galleries across the country. Despite Whitten’s success, his sculptural work remains little known. For years, Whitten and his family would travel to Crete, Greece in the summers, where most of his sculptural pieces were created. These pieces were inspired by African carved sculptures, and ritual objects, and dealt with the themes of memory and migration. The sculptures incorporated carved wood, found objects, such as nails, metal pieces, bone, paper and electronics. Whitten claimed that his paintings, often using mosaic like pieces of dried acrylic paint, were informed by his time spent sculpting in Greece and creating in three dimensions. The Met Breuer Museum will be showing a retrospective of Whitten’s sculptures from September 6th to December 2nd.