Oprah Winfrey tells Steve Harvey that Whitfield Lovell’s work inspires her (starting at 4:00) | Video by The Steve Harvey Show


PERSONAL PHOTOS OF NELSON MANDELA and countless Emmys fill the shelves of Oprah Winfrey’s office, and across from her desk is an installation by artist Whitfield Lovell. Yesterday, Steve Harvey dedicated an entire episode of his talk show to the media titan, visiting her new Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) headquarters in West Hollywood and touring her private office.

Winfrey told Harvey she wanted to show him something that “matters” to her and walked him across her office to the artwork by Lovell. The New York-based artist explores the African American experience by pairing images with objects that evoke memory and history. His practice relies on vintage photographs of anonymous African Americans taken between Emancipation and the modern Civil Rights era. He draws their portraits and often creates a narrative “tableaux” by combining the images with found objects.

Lovell’s work had been in her Chicago office “forever,” Winfrey said. Titled “Having,” the mixed media installation features a charcoal on wood panel image of two women with three wood boxes brimming with pennies placed before it. “These entrepreneurial women were in business for themselves, so this is what I looked at from my desk every single day at Harpo to remind me that it can be done,” Winfrey said.

“These entrepreneurial women were in business for themselves, so this is what I looked at from my desk every single day at Harpo to remind me that it can be done.” — Oprah Winfrey

The Oprah Winfrey Show was on the air for 25 years and produced in Chicago at Harpo Productions. Today, Winfrey’s OWN is based in West Hollywood in Los Angeles. The contemporary, light-filled offices are at once luxurious and eco-friendly. Plants, marble-topped tables and leather seating define the office “cafeteria.” There’s a library with all of the Oprah’s Book Club selections. On another floor, a living wall features an enormous wood “O.” Winfrey said Mary Tyler Moore is her idol and she always wanted a big “O” because the groundbreaking female character who worked at a TV station had a huge “M” in her apartment. After the tour segment with Winfrey, Harvey sat down with the cast of “Queen Sugar,” the hit TV drama created by Ava DuVernay that airs on OWN.

WATCH the rest of the tour. VIEW the entire episode. CT


“Whitfield Lovell: The Kin Series and Related Works” is on view at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., through Jan. 8, 2017


Recently published, “Whitfield Lovell: Kin” coincides with “Whitfield Lovell: The Kin Series and Related Works,” the artist’s exhibition at the Phillips Collection. The monograph features “a sumptuously reproduced portfolio” of Lovell’s “Kin” series, along with contributions by the exhibition’s curator Elsa Smithgall, and Sarah Lewis, among others.


WHITEFIELD LOVELL, “Having,” 2000 (Charcoal on wood, found objects, 108 x 72 x 45 1/2). | © Whitfield Lovell. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York


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