Sam Gilliam: Red April

Stains of hot pink acrylic and splattered globs of red paint—formal strategies associated with Sam Gilliam's Washington Color School abstraction—gain symbolic resonance when viewed in light of this work's title, alluding to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination on April 4, 1968. Having witnessed the riots that followed King's assassination from his studio on U Street in the District of Columbia, Gilliam embarked on a series of works inspired by the civil rights leader.