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1973 Kenneth Victor Young Born: Louisville, Kentucky 1933 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 2017 acrylic on canvas 37 5/8 x 37 5/8 in. (95.6 x 95.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Mr. Val E. Lewton 1987.46 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

The black orbs in Kenneth Young’s untitled abstraction are deceptive. They seem alternately microscopic, like organisms floating in a fluid field, or cosmic, like bits of matter captured in a split second. Opaque at the center, the spheres are fluid at their edges. The space, too, is ambiguous. Deep reds seem distant; electric blues propel dark forms forward from unfathomable depths. Energy and matter were apt subjects for Young, a young physicist who turned to painting: “I’ve always been interested in…outer space, inner space, and the development of what occurs – force, magnetism, and that kind of thing.”

African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012




paint - acrylic

fabric - canvas