the artist

Alvin "Al" Loving

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Artist & Garth Greenan Gallery, NY

Alvin "Al" Loving

Detroit, MI

Alvin "Al" Loving

In 1968, Al Loving relocated to New York from Detroit, where he found himself among a milieu that included artists Robert Duran, Alan Shields, Howardena Pindell, Richard Van Buren, and the dancer and choreographer Batya Zamir.  A year later, in 1969, Loving famously became the first African-American to have a one-person show at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Unlike other African-American artists whose art focused on the racial politics of the era, Loving was a staunch abstractionist.  His early works were built upon strict yet simple geometric shapes—often hexagonal or cubic modules.  Inspired by Hans Hoffmann (who taught Loving’s mentor Al Mullen), Loving concentrated on the tension between flatness and spatial illusionism.  In the 1970s the artist became disenchanted with his earlier, hard-edge geometric paintings.  Loving dispensed with notions of centralized composition, figure/ground separation, and pictorial frame in his torn canvas and collaged paper works.  He combined hundreds of pieces of cut and torn canvas or paper into an abundance of overlapping patterns and shapes.  Their rich and intuitive array of colors stretch irregularly, spiraling outward, surrounding the space, and engulfing the viewer.

Gallery Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Artist & Garth Greenan Gallery, NY

Fast Facts

Name: Al Loving


Place of Birth: Detroit, MI

MFA from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
BFA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Notable or memorable instructors or mentors:
Al Mullen

Particular field of study or class work:
Painting, collage

Major influences/admired artists:
Whitney Museum of American Art’s exhibition Abstract Design in American Quilts
Hans Hoffman; Josef Albers

Favorite materials or media:
Paint, Canvas, Collaged Paper Works

School or university affiliation (when Convention Center acquired artwork):
1988 to 1996 – Educator at City College of the City University of New York

Gallery Representation (when Convention Center acquired artwork):
Garth Greenan Gallery

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