In Celebration of the Opening of the Whitney’s New Downtown Home and the Eighty-Fourth Anniversary of the Empire State Building
The Whitney Museum of American Art will partner with the Empire State Realty Trust on a one-of-a-kind, one-night-only Empire State Building lightshow on Friday, May 1, 2015, marking two historic occasions: the opening day of the Whitney’s new Renzo Piano–designed building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and the eighty-fourth anniversary of the Empire State Building.
The Empire State Building and the new Whitney (white building in foreground to the right of the Empire State Building). Photograph by Timothy Schenck
Focusing on twelve iconic works from the Whitney’s collection (Georgia O’Keeffe, Music Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918/Edward Hopper, Railroad Sunset, 1929/Chiura Obata, Evening Glow of Yosemite Fall, 1930/Mary Ellen Bute, Synchromy No. 4: Escape, 1937–1938/William H. Johnson, Blind Singer, c.1942/Mark Rothko, Untitled (Blue, Yellow, Green on Red), 1954/Jasper Johns, Three Flags, 1958/Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1970/Elizabeth Murray, Children Meeting, 1978/Peter Halley, Blue Cell with Triple Conduit, 1986/Barbara Kruger, We Don’t Need Another Hero, 1987/Cory Arcangel, Super Mario Clouds, 2002), lighting designer Marc Brickman will interpret pieces by these artists, utilizing the Empire State Building’s LED tower lights to create a dynamic show. Beginning at 8 pm on Friday, May 1, each of the twelve artworks will be showcased for thirty minutes, with the light show ending at 2 am on Saturday, May 2. Most of the works that inspired the light show will be on view at the Whitney as part of the new building’s inaugural exhibition, America Is Hard to See (May 1–September 27, 2015).
Georgia O’Keeffe (1887–1986), Music, Pink and Blue No. 2, 1918. Oil on canvas; 35 × 29 15/16 in. (88.9 × 76 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Emily Fisher Landau in honor of Tom Armstrong 91.90. © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY
Edward Hopper (1882–1967), Railroad Sunset, 1929. Oil on canvas; 29 5/16 × 48 1/8 in. (74.5 × 122.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.1170. © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Chiura Obata (1885–1975), Evening Glow of Yosemite Fall, 1930. Woodblock print; Sheet: 17 7/8 × 13 1/8 in. (45.4 × 33.3 cm), Image: 15 7/16 × 10 7/8 in. (39.2 × 27.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Gyo Obata 2014.280. © Gyo Obata
Mary Ellen Bute (1906–1983), Synchromy No. 4: Escape, 1937–1938. 16mm film, color, sound, 4 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee 2014.1
William H. Johnson (1901–1970), Blind Singer, c. 1942. Screenprint; 17 1/2 × 11 9/16 in. (44.5 × 29.4 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Print Committee 95.53
Mark Rothko (1903–1970), Untitled (Blue, Yellow, Green on Red), 1954. Oil on canvas; 77 3/4 × 65 1/2in. (197.5 × 166.4 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of The American Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, President 2002.261. © 2015 Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Jasper Johns (b. 1930), Three Flags, 1958. Encaustic on canvas; 30 5/8 × 45 1/2 × 4 5/8 in. (77.8 × 115.6 × 11.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Gilman Foundation, Inc., The Lauder Foundation, A. Alfred Taubman, Laura‑Lee Whittier Woods, Howard Lipman, and Ed Downe in honor of the Museum’s 50th Anniversary 80.32. Art ©
Andy Warhol (1928–1987), Flowers, 1970. Screenprint; 36 × 36in. (91.4 × 91.4 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of David Whitney 71.179.1. © 2015 Andy Warhol Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York, NY
Elizabeth Murray (1940–2007), Children Meeting, 1978. Oil on canvas; 101 3/16 × 127 in. (257 × 322.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Louis and Bessie Adler Foundation, Inc., Seymour M. Klein, President 78.34. © 2015 The Murray-Holman Family Trust/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY
Peter Halley (b. 1953), Blue Cell with Triple Conduit, 1986. Acrylic and vinyl paint on canvas, two parts; 77 5/16 × 77 1/4 × 3 1/4in. (196.4 × 196.2 × 8.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Heather and Steven Mnuchin 2004.608a‑b. © Peter Halley
Barbara Kruger (b. 1945), Untitled (We Don’t Need Another Hero), 1987. Photoscreenprint on vinyl; 108 7/8 × 209 3/16 × 2 1/2in. (276.5 × 531.3 × 6.4 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift from the Emily Fisher Landau Collection 2012.180. © Barbara Kruger
Cory Arcangel (b. 1978), Super Mario Clouds, 2002. Handmade hacked Super Mario Brothers cartridge and Nintendo NES video game system; dimensions variable. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee 2005.10. © Cory Arcangel
To kick off the celebration, a lighting ceremony will take place at the Empire State Building for invited media and guests on May 1. John B. Kessler, President and Chief Operating Officer of Empire State Realty Trust; Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director; Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs; and some of the artists whose work will be interpreted in the light show will jointly flip the “switch” and light the building in celebratory colors.
A special viewing for Museum visitors will be held on Friday, May 1, from 8 pm until 10 pm, at the Whitney’s new building at 99 Gansevoort Street, which has stunning views of the Empire State Building from its four, east-facing terraces. The artworks can also be viewed online at whitney.org/ESB, and on May 1, an online slideshow will be synchronized to the lightshow, so that viewers throughout the city can look at the Empire State Building and the art works in real time.
“We’re thrilled to see these incredible works from the Whitney’s collection interpreted on one of the most iconic buildings in the world—one that has been the subject of many an artist’s work,” said De Salvo. “We can’t imagine a more spectacular way in which to signal the opening of our new building and celebrate the art and artists of the United States.” Continue reading