Al Loving was born in Detroit in 1935 and went on to study painting at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 1969, Loving was the first African American to have a one-person show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. As a staunch abstractionist inspired by Hans Hoffmann, his early work focused on simple geometric shapes and “the tension between flatness and spatial illusionism.” He later felt “stuck inside that box” and started tearing his painted canvases, sewing them into shapes, and collaging paper onto canvas. These large works were partially inspired by his mother’s quilting.
Loving’s work is featured in the collections of major museums around the country, including: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Modern Art; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; The Studio Museum in Harlem; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.