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Something, Anything, Everything, Nothing: Ambiguity, Meaning, and Experience

November 18 at 12:10 and 1:10
West Building Lecture Hall

William Whitaker, senior art services specialist, office of the registrar, National Gallery of Art, in conversation with Molly Donovan, curator of art, 1975–present, department of modern art, National Gallery of Art

Absent of context, marks are stubbornly ambiguous things. How, then, do they acquire meaning? Perhaps, the meaning of marks lies not in what they signify or represent, but in the viewer’s experience of them. As part of the Works in Progress series, William Whitaker and Molly Donovan grapple with this question, and proposed answer, by examining Whitaker’s paintings. By discussing Whitaker’s artistic practice and goals through mark making, we are challenged to think more critically about how meaning is attributed.


William Whitaker, Lazy Grid(1), 2019

Photo: Courtesy of the artist

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