Sam Gilliam. Red April, 1970.

“TWO YEARS AFTER MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, Sam Gilliam created “Red April.” The draped canvas makes a bold statement with its candid reference to splattered blood in the wake of an assassin’s bullet. Gilliam, an internationally known artist whose work is influenced by Abstract Expressionism, is recognized for his Color Field paintings and pioneering works on unsupported canvases which he first introduced in 1965. His poignant interpretation of King’s murder, a major turning point in civil rights history, is not the kind of visual most people conjure when the think about the movement. ”

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