Whitney Museum Announces Recent Acquisitions, Including Works Acquired From 2019 Whitney Biennial

The Whitney Museum of American Art announced that it has acquired more than 250 works of art since last April. Among these acquisitions are 88 works by 40 artists who were featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial.

John Edmonds, Tête d’Homme, 2018. Archival inkjet print. Sheet (sight): 23 5/8 × 29 9/16in. (60 × 75.1 cm) © John Edmonds. Purchase, with funds from the Henry Nias Foundation

Other recent acquisitions include works by artists who are joining the collection for the first time, including Laura Aguilar, John Ahearn, Maria Berrio, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, ektor garcia, Ajay Kurian, Wendy Red Star, Wallace & Donahue, and others.

Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator commented: “Through the Biennial and our emerging artist program, the Whitney is committed to adding new voices to our collection, but we’re also deepening our relationships with artists already represented in it, with acquisitions of works by, among others, Alex Da Corte, Simone Leigh, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Hank Willis Thomas. We are particularly proud that our recent gifts and purchases highlight the museum’s increased scholarship on and engagement with Latinx and Indigenous artists.”

We are thrilled to be making many important acquisitions from the 2019 Whitney Biennial and to be continuing our long-standing tradition of expanding the collection through this flagship exhibition,” noted Jane Panetta, Curator and Director of the Collection, who was also a co-curator of the 2019 Whitney Biennial. “Additionally, we are very excited to be acquiring work that will be part of our upcoming collection presentation, Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019, featuring important examples by Shan Goshorn, Jordan Nassar and Elaine Reichek. In all instances, these new acquisitions point to the Whitney’s deep commitment to continuing to build an ambitious and inclusive collection and to the significant relationship between our exhibition program and the work we acquire.

Some highlights of works acquired from the Biennial include John Edmonds’s meticulously composed photographs which feature carefully choreographed subjects and settings to create portraits such as Tête d’Homme (2018) and The Villain (2018) that challenge the art historical canon while simultaneously interrogating and celebrating Black identity; Janiva Ellis’s canvas Uh Oh, Look Who Got Wet (2019) featuring a graphically rendered figure against the backdrop of a monumental landscape executed in brilliant colors with vivid attention to the materiality of paint; Kota Ezawa’s projected video animation National Anthem (2018) that utilizes repurposed footage of multiple NFL teams as the basis for small-scale watercolor paintings used to create this video depicting NFL players taking a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in protest of police violence against unarmed Black men; Daniel Lind-Ramos’s Maria-Maria (2019), an assembled sculpture made of found materials whose haloed form, blue robes, and title suggest the Virgin Mary but also reference Hurricane Maria, the devastating 2017 storm that struck Puerto Rico; Jennifer Packer’s monumental, lush painting A Lesson in Longing (2019) featuring her signature, gestural figures and adept use of color; and Carissa Rodriguez’s high-definition video The Maid (2018) that tracks Sherrie Levine’s Newborn sculptures (1993–94) over the course of a day through various collections in homes, galleries, and museums.

The Whitney’s collection includes nearly 25,000 works created by approximately 3,500 artists during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This focus on the contemporary, along with a deep respect for artists’ creative process and vision, has guided the Museum’s collecting ever since its founding in 1930. The collection begins with Ashcan School painting and follows the major movements of the twentieth century in America, with strengths in modernism and Social Realism, Precisionism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, Minimalism, Postminimalism, art centered on identity and politics that came to the fore in the 1980s and 1990s, and contemporary work.

(View and download PDFs of recent acquisitions.)

The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort Street between Washington and West Streets, New York City. Museum hours are: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:30 am to 6 pm; Friday from 10:30 am to 10 pm. Closed Tuesday except in July and August. Adults: $25. Full-time students, visitors 65 & over, and visitors with disabilities: $18. Visitors 18 years & under and Whitney members: FREE. Admission is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 7–10 pm. For general information, please call (212) 570-3600 or visit whitney.org.