Paint and Perseverance:
The Art of William T. Williams

Marshall N. Price

Endnotes

1 Robert Pincus-Witten, Postminimalism into Maximalism: American Art, 1966–1986 (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1987), 1. Pincus-Witten’s term was not intended to be an outright critique of minimalism, but instead intended to expand the possibilities of minimalism. See James Meyer, Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001), 269.

2 During Williams’s first two years of high school, classes were held at the school’s location on 51st Street, New York, near the Museum of Modern Art. In his junior and senior year classes were held on 79th Street, not far from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Both institutions played a crucial role for Williams and were, in effect, extensions of the classroom. For a more complete biography of the artist, see David C. Driskell, William T. Williams: An Exhibition of Paintings from 1974–1985. Exh. cat. (Winston-Salem, NC: Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, 1985); David C. Driskell, Contemporary Visual Expressions: The Art of Sam Gilliam, Martha Jackson-Jarvis, Keith Morrison, William T. Williams. Exh. cat. (Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1987); and www.williamtwilliams.com.

3 William T. Williams, interview with the author, November 28, 2009.

4 Katy Siegel, ed., High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting 1967–1975. Exh. cat. (New York: Distributed Art Publishers, 2006), 32.

5 Williams, interview with the author, November 28, 2009.

6 This subversion was first noted by April Kingsley in “From Explosion to Implosion: The Ten Year Transition of William T. Williams,” Arts Magazine 55 (February 1981): 154–155.

7 Other painters active at the time who undertook similar endeavors despite a vast array of stylistic differences include Kenneth Showell, Howardena Pindell, Joan Snyder, Jack Whitten, Harriet Korman, Frank Bowling, John Walker, and many others. See Katy Siegel, ed., High Times, Hard Times, 29 et passim.

8 Kellie Jones, et al. Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction, 1964–1980. Exh. cat. (New York: Studio Museum in Harlem, 2006), 17. See also, Richard J. Powell, “To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities” in Richard J. Powell, To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Exh. cat. (Andover and New York: Addison Gallery of American Art and The Studio Museum, 1999), 132.

9 April Kingsley, “From Explosion to Implosion: The Ten Year Transition of William T. Williams,” Arts Magazine 55 (February 1981), 154.

10 David C. Driskell, William T. Williams: An Exhibition of Paintings from 1974–1985. Exh. cat. (Winston-Salem, NC: Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, 1985), n.p.

11 Williams, interview with the author, November 28, 2009.

12 Robert Pincus-Witten, Postminimalism into Maximalism, 256.

13 For an interesting assessment of abstraction that developed just following this moment see Roald Nasgaard, Pleasures of Sight and States of Being: Radical Abstract Painting Since 1990. Exh. cat. (Tallahassee: Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts, 2001), 10.

14 http://www.williamtwilliams.com/. Accessed November 28, 2009.

15 Mel Edwards, telephone conversation with the author, December 16, 2009.

16 Ibid.

17 Williams, interview with the author, November 28, 2009.

18 Bob Nickas, Painting Abstraction: New Elements in Abstract Painting. (London and New York: Phaidon Press Limited, 2009), 7.