Works in the Collection
Al Loving was born in 1935 in Detroit, Michigan. His father was an artist, sign painter, and professor who began his career at the University of Michigan at Flint and ultimately earned a position as a dean at the University of Michigan’s School of Education at Ann Arbor. Influenced by his father’s art background, Loving’s art education began early in his childhood, and he went on to study art formally at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He then continued his education, earning an MFA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Loving was abstractionist, and his early work was exemplified by hard-edged, geometric designs. The work was so popular, he became the first African American to be granted a one-man show at the Whitney Museum. The exhibition skyrocketed him to success and recognition, but before long, he grew tired of the limitations of his geometric designs. No longer wanting to be stuck the box he had made for himself, Loving began experimenting with strips of fabric, a natural choice, as both his mother and grandmother were skilled quilters. These fabric constructions were well received, though never receiving quite the acclaim of his early work. In the 1980s, Loving began incorporating different materials into the work, eventually settling on cardboard and rag paper as his preferred medium.
From 1988 to 1996, Loving taught art at the City College of New York. Throughout his career, he also executed a number of public artworks including a 208′ x 80′ mural titled A Message to Demar and Lauri on The First National Bank Building in Detroit, and Brooklyn, New Morning, a stained-glass work for the MTA. Loving’s work can be found in the collections of a number of museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MOMA, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, among many others. The artist died in 2005.