For me New York and Jack Whitten are one and the same. Jack and I met on my first day at Cooper Union. Struck by his great style and swagger, his meticulous denim outfit (I learned later he had a nearly exact version of for each day of the week) and his debonair blue bandana tied about his neck, silver bracelets, rings and chains let you know instantly you were talking to a Painter. Each choice of these details pointed to a spirit that clearly loved to make aeshetic desicions, to take chances and meld all these facets into one explosive picture. Hardcore into painting then Jack saw the same  in Me in return. His perspective on the art scene in New York ?  Incisive and nononsense, as Jack had seen it and knew it all, the narrative starting with his arrival in 1950.  His memories were the deepest coninuous oral history of what has become" The international Art World" It is one thing to admire Artists from pictures in books Talking to Jack was to get the story straight from the source with a touch of vibrant shimmering color thrown in. This is why  New York was alluring in the first place , and thanks to Jack, found it on the very first day .

Jack's authoritative voice, slightly southern tinged exhorted us to reach out, experiment, and experience the act of being alive, and then transform "that" into the act of painting.It left a deep impression on me as I remained his student through 2 full years of study with Jack as Mentor.

I was honored to keep up the traditional apprentice master relationship in herent in painting with Jack as my link to the real pratictioners who by this point had recently left the planet: De Kooning in particular, Warhol, Basquiat, Kieth Haring, Rothko, Etc. Etc.  Jack was the way to time travel back into that window of time and get a better picture, rich in details and secrets that one only gains by first hand experience. The Time honored tradition of Painters asking one another for" studio visits" was the major source of communication between artists themselves. Jacks Long life as a painter in the City streached far pack into distant times when attitudes and people themselves were different that what I experienced in the city, I felt he had a key to relighting some of the spark of Creativity that was  simmering and dormant beniethe the surface of the City.  At last Artforum and Dealers and Collectors accross the globe have discovered and recognized Jack. Miraculously this new found spate of interest in jack comes through the Cluttered and chaotic era of the "Art Fair" and not in the time of the Gallery as prime showcase for painting. A look at Jacks work will tell you why it is that among so much Art Jacks paintings shine through with the clarity of cut diamond. All that history and understanding Is there to see in Jacks work, His consitent belief in experimenttation with materials, fused with historical exploration make for potent and powerful paintings, the ideas behind them subtle but strong are built on jacks amazing and storied life in Art.

I had not seen Jack for nearly 15 years until I bumped into him out side the David Zwirner Gallery in New York one night last fall. I visited his studio soon after and we had a chance to catch up.

Jack had come to new york to play music, and ended up meeting the great painters of the New York school through music. The jazz clubs were then the nighttime flip side of the paintings scene and the audience and players of jazz practiced other arts along with music. Coletrane's influence guiding jack into the work of  Franz Kline.  Being raised in the south Jacks first visit to Kline's studio had been a shock, " I didn't know what I was looking at!" Jack tells me "  Once I discovered that this was something that people could do, music moved to the side and painting came front and center. Since Jack has been a witness to every permutation of art in the great City of New York, veiwing the fashion, the madness and the brilliance from every possible perspective, through the eyes of his students, and from the gallery scene, to the downtown parties of the Soho/Tribeca era Jack has always been a great witness and a great oracle of information and truth. Most important and above all, through it all Jack has been painting.

The experiment, and the hightening of chance to a central defining principle in Jack's work has meant that his development has been slow, methodical and continuously evolving, one painting to the next. Some times each painting required an elaborate and intuitive approach.  Jack's "One Shot" paintings of the late 1960's, concieved as whole paintings made from a single brush stroke cascade across an expanse of canvas. Now seen in thier true light,  not only do they presage the works of Gerhart Richter, they also simplify a similar interest in chance in Richters paintings. One can see the challenges such painteres placed before themselves in this period, and arrived at similar out comes. Today Jacks works are evolutions on these same principles. Merged with his experience in Crete and the Art of the ancient world these approaches now express themselves in arrangements of colored acylic "tiles" that array themselves in precice arrangements composed by Jack to form translucent gem like surfaces, and hypnotic patterns and hidden sub notes.

Amazingly after painting for 50 years the Art fairs have revealed what a great master of the art Jack has always been. Through the mass of pieces Jack's work shines and sparkles. Despite the winds of change over the years Jack has honed his vision of painting, engaged with his experiences to produce a concrete form of painting that only now people are finally seeing with clear eyes. 

Its a great Satisfaction to see his work grace the cover of ArtForum and see this man get his due, I find it a great pleasure that today when I say his name, one I have used again and again when ever I talk painting and see peoples eyes light up, as if his greatness was hitting them for the first time. 

Jack always talked the long game of art to his young ambitious students, I certainly was one when I met jack, he would always point his finger up and remind you that above all painting was about history, your history and it's history merging together. Like a Kung Foo master of a Showlin temple he would always find a way to push you, and force you to dig a little deeper, reach with in yourself to find the will to take just one more chance, and push that paintingfarther and then that painting would grow and be pushed to the next. One can see from jacks work that that is just how it has always been done, that is how one moves from good to great, and that is how one gets a chance to dance with the great history that is painting. 

In the imortal words of Curtis Mayfield " Keep on Pushin' " Jack, keep on, can't wait to see what comes next.

-Raymond Dumas NYC. August 2012

For me New York and Jack Whitten are one and the same. Jack and I met on my first day at Cooper Union. Struck by his great style and swagger, his meticulous denim outfit (I learned later he had a nearly exact version of for each day of the week) and his debonair blue bandana tied about his neck, silver bracelets, rings and chains let you know instantly you were talking to a Painter. Each choice of these details pointed to a spirit that clearly loved to make aeshetic desicions, to take chances and meld all these facets into one explosive picture. Hardcore into painting then Jack saw the same  in Me in return. His perspective on the art scene in New York ?  Incisive and nononsense, as Jack had seen it and knew it all, the narrative starting with his arrival in 1950.  His memories were the deepest coninuous oral history of what has become" The international Art World" It is one thing to admire Artists from pictures in books Talking to Jack was to get the story straight from the source with a touch of vibrant shimmering color thrown in. This is why  New York was alluring in the first place , and thanks to Jack, found it on the very first day .

Jack's authoritative voice, slightly southern tinged exhorted us to reach out, experiment, and experience the act of being alive, and then transform "that" into the act of painting.It left a deep impression on me as I remained his student through 2 full years of study with Jack as Mentor.

I was honored to keep up the traditional apprentice master relationship in herent in painting with Jack as my link to the real pratictioners who by this point had recently left the planet: De Kooning in particular, Warhol, Basquiat, Kieth Haring, Rothko, Etc. Etc.  Jack was the way to time travel back into that window of time and get a better picture, rich in details and secrets that one only gains by first hand experience. The Time honored tradition of Painters asking one another for" studio visits" was the major source of communication between artists themselves. Jacks Long life as a painter in the City streached far pack into distant times when attitudes and people themselves were different that what I experienced in the city, I felt he had a key to relighting some of the spark of Creativity that was  simmering and dormant beniethe the surface of the City.  At last Artforum and Dealers and Collectors accross the globe have discovered and recognized Jack. Miraculously this new found spate of interest in jack comes through the Cluttered and chaotic era of the "Art Fair" and not in the time of the Gallery as prime showcase for painting. A look at Jacks work will tell you why it is that among so much Art Jacks paintings shine through with the clarity of cut diamond. All that history and understanding Is there to see in Jacks work, His consitent belief in experimenttation with materials, fused with historical exploration make for potent and powerful paintings, the ideas behind them subtle but strong are built on jacks amazing and storied life in Art.

I had not seen Jack for nearly 15 years until I bumped into him out side the David Zwirner Gallery in New York one night last fall. I visited his studio soon after and we had a chance to catch up.

Jack had come to new york to play music, and ended up meeting the great painters of the New York school through music. The jazz clubs were then the nighttime flip side of the paintings scene and the audience and players of jazz practiced other arts along with music. Coletrane's influence guiding jack into the work of  Franz Kline.  Being raised in the south Jacks first visit to Kline's studio had been a shock, " I didn't know what I was looking at!" Jack tells me "  Once I discovered that this was something that people could do, music moved to the side and painting came front and center. Since Jack has been a witness to every permutation of art in the great City of New York, veiwing the fashion, the madness and the brilliance from every possible perspective, through the eyes of his students, and from the gallery scene, to the downtown parties of the Soho/Tribeca era Jack has always been a great witness and a great oracle of information and truth. Most important and above all, through it all Jack has been painting.

The experiment, and the hightening of chance to a central defining principle in Jack's work has meant that his development has been slow, methodical and continuously evolving, one painting to the next. Some times each painting required an elaborate and intuitive approach.  Jack's "One Shot" paintings of the late 1960's, concieved as whole paintings made from a single brush stroke cascade across an expanse of canvas. Now seen in thier true light,  not only do they presage the works of Gerhart Richter, they also simplify a similar interest in chance in Richters paintings. One can see the challenges such painteres placed before themselves in this period, and arrived at similar out comes. Today Jacks works are evolutions on these same principles. Merged with his experience in Crete and the Art of the ancient world these approaches now express themselves in arrangements of colored acylic "tiles" that array themselves in precice arrangements composed by Jack to form translucent gem like surfaces, and hypnotic patterns and hidden sub notes.

Amazingly after painting for 50 years the Art fairs have revealed what a great master of the art Jack has always been. Through the mass of pieces Jack's work shines and sparkles. Despite the winds of change over the years Jack has honed his vision of painting, engaged with his experiences to produce a concrete form of painting that only now people are finally seeing with clear eyes. 

Its a great Satisfaction to see his work grace the cover of ArtForum and see this man get his due, I find it a great pleasure that today when I say his name, one I have used again and again when ever I talk painting and see peoples eyes light up, as if his greatness was hitting them for the first time. 

Jack always talked the long game of art to his young ambitious students, I certainly was one when I met jack, he would always point his finger up and remind you that above all painting was about history, your history and it's history merging together. Like a Kung Foo master of a Showlin temple he would always find a way to push you, and force you to dig a little deeper, reach with in yourself to find the will to take just one more chance, and push that paintingfarther and then that painting would grow and be pushed to the next. One can see from jacks work that that is just how it has always been done, that is how one moves from good to great, and that is how one gets a chance to dance with the great history that is painting. 

In the imortal words of Curtis Mayfield " Keep on Pushin' " Jack, keep on, can't wait to see what comes next.

-Raymond Dumas NYC. August 2012