On The Late Sam Gilliam

Richard J. Powell at Artforum:

ALTHOUGH the more-than-a-half-century career of abstract painter Sam Gilliam was universally recognized and expansive in its reach, his studio and home were in Washington, D.C., which the art world was late to recognize as a place for innovative art and shape-shifting artists. Despite the history surrounding the genesis and development of the Washington Color School—chronicles that include such luminaries as critic Clement Greenberg and painters Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland—the reputation of the nation’s capital for nurturing leading-edge visual artists pales in comparison to cities like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. And yet Sam Gilliam’s groundbreaking creations, from his draped canvases to his acrylic-laden structures, cannot be separated from the town that, until recently, was euphemistically referred to as Chocolate City, a setting with an idiosyncratic, generative mixture of bureaucratic precedent, cosmopolitan rapprochement, and African American artistry.

more here.