Beginning February 26 and running through May 14, 2016, the Whitney Museum of American Art will present Open Plan, an experimental five-part exhibition using the Museum’s dramatic fifth floor as a single open gallery, unobstructed by interior walls. The largest column-free museum exhibition space in New York, the Neil Bluhm Family Galleries measure 18,200 square feet and feature windows with striking views east into the city and west to the Hudson River, making for an expansive and inspiring canvas. Five artists have been invited to present solo projects in response to the space, lasting from a few days to just over two weeks. They include installation and performance artist Andrea Fraser; painter Lucy Dodd; sculptor and earth artist Michael Heizer; jazz composer and performer Cecil Taylor; and video- and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen.
“The Whitney’s fifth- floor gallery was conceived as an unparalleled exhibition space to inspire artists and curators, as well as our visitors, with its openness and flexibility,” remarks Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator. “To celebrate the end of our inaugural year downtown, we wanted to reveal this space for the first time in its entirety and give artists the opportunity to respond to the site with new projects or to display work from the collection that we couldn’t have previously shown. The featured artists span a broad range of ages, mediums, and approaches, and we’ve asked them to respond to the space with a light touch and without interior construction in order to lend Open Plan a lively and experimental spirit.”
The consecutive parts of the exhibition are scheduled as follows:
OPEN PLAN: ANDREA FRASER
FEB 26–MAR 13, 2016
Andrea Fraser’s (b. 1965) provocative work spans performance, institutional critique, video, and audience engagement. Open Plan: Andrea Fraser will present her site-specific project, Down the River, which uses audio recorded at a correctional facility to bridge the social, cultural, and geographic divide separating museums from correctional facilities. Since the mid-1970s, the United States has seen a parallel boom in museum and prison construction, with some states, such as New York, recently reversing this trend with prison closures. Fraser’s sound installation seeks to reflect on the parts we play in sustaining these disparate institutions.
Public seminars on Down the River occur daily on the third floor: Monday–Friday at 2 pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 1 pm.
Open Plan: Andrea Fraser is organized by Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator Scott Rothkopf and assistant curator Laura Phipps.
Lucy Dodd (b. 1981), installation view of Wuv Shack at David Lewis Gallery, 2015. Courtesy the artist and David Lewis Gallery, New York. Photograph by Jenny Kim.
OPEN PLAN: LUCY DODD
MAR 17–MAR 20, 2016
Lucy Dodd (b. 1981) turns the gallery into a site of artistic exploration and live action for her Open Plan presentation. Before the exhibition opens to the public, Dodd will create a new large-scale painting utilizing unusual materials like fermented walnuts, kombucha scoby, hematite, yerba mate, and pigments she has collected in her travels. The new painting will be surrounded by recently made shaped canvases that are intended to evoke sails or waves and respond to the gallery’s river views. By bringing her studio activities into the gallery and inviting musicians to perform, Dodd fosters what she calls “a space of ritual action and improvisation demanding a longer and broader engagement on the part of the audience.”
Open Plan: Lucy Dodd is organized by associate curator Christopher Y. Lew.
Photo Credit: Michael Heizer (b. 1944), Actual Size: Munich Rotary, 1970. Six custom made aluminum projectors with steel stands and six black and white slides mounted between glass, Dimensions variable. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Virginia Dwan 96.137. Photograph © Museum Associates/ LACMA, CA
OPEN PLAN: MICHAEL HEIZER
MAR 25–APR 10, 2016
Michael Heizer’s (b. 1944) large-scale earth works have redefined the parameters of sculpture. He will be represented at the Whitney by his 1970 installation, Actual Size: Munich Rotary, a full-scale photographic documentation of the horizon from inside an 18-foot-deep hole that Heizer dug in the earth in Munich, Germany. Comprised of six black-and-white glass slide projections, six custom-made steel projectors, and six steel pipes with wood platforms, this vast projected work re-images the depression as seen from its center. This is the first time this iconic work in the Whitney’s collection will be shown in New York.
Cecil Taylor in rehearsal at the Whitney Museum, November 2015.
OPEN PLAN: CECIL TAYLOR
APR 15–APR 24, 2016
Pianist Cecil Taylor (b. 1929) is one of America’s most innovative and uncompromising living musicians. A pioneer of free jazz whose work draws on a myriad of different musical styles conveyed through radical improvisation, he will take up residence in the fifth-floor gallery along with friends and fellow performers. This residency will feature a series of live performances amid a retrospective environment that will include documentation of Taylor’s career, including videos, audio, notational scores, photographs, poetry, and other ephemera.
Open Plan: Cecil Taylor is organized by curator and curator of performance Jay Sanders and Lawrence Kumpf, artistic director, ISSUE Project Room, with senior curatorial assistant Greta Hartenstein and Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow Lauren Rosati.
Steve McQueen (b. 1969), End Credits, 2012. Sequence of digitally scanned files, sound, continuous projection
OPEN PLAN: STEVE MCQUEEN
APR 29–MAY 14, 2016
Steve McQueen (b. 1969) is a visual artist and filmmaker, whose films include Hunger, Shame, and 12 Years a Slave, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. McQueen’s project for Open Plan will center on a newly expanded version of his work End Credits, which presents documents from the FBI file kept on the legendary African-American performer Paul Robeson.
Open Plan: Steve McQueen is organized by Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator Donna De Salvo, with curatorial assistant Christie Mitchell.
Major support for Open Plan is provided by the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation and the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Significant support is provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston and Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Generous support is provided by Diane and Adam E. Max. Additional support is provided by Joseph Rosenwald Varet and Esther Kim Varet, and the Performance Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.