Alma Thomas

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unknownLast weekend, Malcolm and I took the speedy A train up to 125th to see the colorful, rhythmic paintings and works on paper of Alma Thomas. What a joy they are! Thomas was the first African-American woman to have a solo show at the Whitney, in 1982, at the age of 80. She cites as her influences: Matisse, Clyfford Still, Barnett Newman and members of the Washington Color School: Morris Louis and Sam Gilliam. “I’ve never bothered painting the ugly things in life… no,” she once said. “I wanted something beautiful that you could sit down and look at.” And sit and look and enjoy we did. Her show is on view through October 30, 2016.

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Also, in the museum is the work of Richard Hunt, known for his public works, sited in 125 parks, schools and public areas across the country. And the exciting work of the 2015-2016 artists in residence: painter Jordan Casteel’s (b. 1989) detail-filled portraits of subjects seen sitting down, multimedia artist EJ Hill’s (b. 1985) neon rollercoaster, and Jibade-Khalil Huffman’s (b. 1981) altered videos.

Pia Ehrhardt

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