Kin LV (The Moral Compass)
Dimensions: image: 22 x 12 in. (55.9 x 30.5 cm)
sheet: 30 x 22 3/4 in. (76.2 x 57.8 cm)
mount: 35 1/2 x 28 in. (90.2 x 71.1 cm)
frame: 36 7/8 x 29 1/2 x 4 1/8 in. (93.7 x 74.9 x 10.5 cm)
Medium: conté on paper and wooden roulette wheel
Credit Line: Elisabeth Claire Lahti Fund Purchase
Label Text: Each work in Whitfield Lovell’s ongoing Kin series conjoins a found object with a precisely drawn portrait. Provocative titles unite the object and portrait, stimulating emotionally charged associations. The artist produces these portrait drawings from anonymous identification documentation (ID) photographs: vintage photo-booth snapshots, passport photos, and police mugshots of African Americans from before the civil rights era. Lovell urges us to contemplate the humanity of the forgotten, ordinary men and women depicted in these institutional representations.
Does this work present a stereotype of a broken man whose moral compass has failed? Or is Lovell offering a memorial to an “unknown” individual representing all those of his “kin” subject to the wheel of fate? What choices are available to a man whose life is guided by forces as capricious as a roulette wheel? Judgment turns to compassion toward our fellow men to whom Lady Luck delivers—by accident of birth, race, and circumstance—the misfortunes of prejudice and poverty, instead of the blessings of privilege.
Object Number: 2011.103
Currently on view