Counting Down To Vida Americana, The Whitney Museum of American Art Announces Education And Public Programs To Be Presented In Conjunction With Landmark Exhibition

With approximately 200 works by sixty U.S. and Mexican artists, Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945 will reveal the profound impact of Mexico’s three leading muralists—José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Diego Rivera—on the style, subject matter, and ideology of art in the United States made between 1925 and 1945.


María Izquierdo. My Nieces, 1940. Oil on composition board, 55 1/8 × 39 3/8 in. (140 × 100 cm). Museo Nacional de Arte, INBAL, Mexico City; constitutive collection, 1982 © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City. Reproduction authorized by El Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, 2019.

Organized by curator Barbara Haskell, with Marcela Guerrero, assistant curator; Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant; and Alana Hernandez, former curatorial project assistant, Vida Americana will be on view at the Whitney from February 17 through May 17. During a special event held today in the Museum’s lobby, Museum visitors were greeted with a surprise celebration at noon, complete with free ticket giveaways and an Instagram-worthy photo opportunity.

At the event, Haskell highlighted the murals and easel paintings that will be on loan from Mexico, Japan, Argentina, and the United Kingdom for the exhibition. These include works that are rarely exhibited in the United States, including Rivera’s 1932 studies for his destroyed and infamous Rockefeller Center mural, Man at the Crossroads, on loan from the Museo Anahuacalli in Mexico City; María Izquierdo’s My Nieces (1940) and Siqueiros’s Proletarian Mother (1929), on loan from the Museo Nacional de Arte; and two paintings by Japanese-born artist Eitarō Ishigaki, on loan from Japan’s Museum of Modern Art in Wakayama.

Guerrero then discussed the Museum’s ongoing initiative to improve access for Spanish-speaking visitors.

For Vida Americana, a number of resources will be available in both English and Spanish, including all exhibition texts, the mobile guide, exhibition tours, and a Family Guide that will feature texts and in-gallery activities. The guide is available free of charge to all families who visit the Whitney as well as to elementary school-aged students who visit the Museum. The Museum also announced programs being organized by its education department on the occasion of the exhibition, including a full-day symposium featuring artists, curators, educators, and scholars presenting new perspectives on the role of Mexican Muralism in the United States. Other programming highlights include Tours for Immigrant Families, Teen Night, and a Community Partnership Mural Project with The Door and artist Sophia Dawson. Additional details and the full lineup of programs can be viewed below.

By presenting the art of the Mexican muralists alongside that of their American contemporaries, Vida Americana reveals the influence of Mexican art, particularly on those looking for inspiration and models beyond European modernism and the School of Paris, during the interwar period. Works by both well-known and underrecognized American artists will be exhibited, including those by Thomas Hart Benton, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Marion Greenwood, William Gropper, Philip Guston, Eitarō Ishigaki, Jacob Lawrence, Harold Lehman, Fletcher Martin, Jackson Pollock, Ben Shahn, Thelma Johnson Streat, Charles White, and Hale Woodruff. In addition to Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros, other key Mexican artists included in the exhibition include Miguel Covarrubias, María Izquierdo, Frida Kahlo, Mardonio Magaña, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, and Rufino Tamayo. Tickets for Vida Americana are now available at whitney.org.

COMMUNITY AND ACCESS PROGRAMS

Tours for Immigrant Families, Feb 1, March 7, April 4, May 2, 2020

Bring your family to the Museum for a free tour and fun activities! We welcome immigrant families who speak any language and level of English. Spanish-speaking staff will be on the tour and two-trip MetroCards will be provided.

Immigrant Justice Night, April 29, 2020, 6–8 pm

Jointly organized with community partners, the Whitney will host its third Immigrant Justice Night. Join the museum for an evening of resource-sharing and artmaking dedicated to immigrant and undocumented communities. Youth, families, teachers, and community members are invited to connect with NYC immigrant justice organizations, participate in a “know your rights” training and explore Vida Americana. Spanish and English language guided tours of the exhibition will be offered throughout the evening.

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Walker Art Center Presents Mary Halvorson's Code Girl and Thumbscrew (Fujiwara/Formanek/Halvorson)

When all her influences click into place, the result is like little else, in any genre. The pileup of melody often feels luxuriously imaginative.” —Pitchfork

Celebrated as a trailblazing guitarist and formidable band leader as well as an unparalleled jazz artist, improviser, and composer, Mary Halvorson performs with her band Code Girl in concert with singular vocalist Amirtha Kidambi (singing Halvorson’s lyrics), saxophonist and vocalist María Grand, and trumpeter Adam O’Farrill. Bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tomas Fujiwara (her bandmates from Thumbscrew) also join in. All of the music performed will be from Code Girl’s new album set to be released this fall.

Mary Halvorson, _2019-20_01
Photo: Reuben Radding

As Halvorson’s songs slip between diverse sonic nodes and songwriting modes, her musical messages offer both encryption and revelation. The bristling collective power trio Thumbscrew, a cooperative in the truest sense, opens.

Guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson has been described as “a singular talent” (Lloyd Sachs, JazzTimes), “NYC’s least-predictable improviser” (Howard Mandel, City Arts), “one of the most exciting and original guitarists in jazz—or otherwise” (Steve Dollar, Wall Street Journal), and “one of today’s most formidable bandleaders” (Francis Davis, Village Voice). In recent Downbeat Critics Polls Halvorson has been celebrated as guitarist, rising star jazz artist, and rising star composer of the year, and in 2019 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship.

Halvorson has released a series of critically acclaimed albums on the Firehouse 12 label, from Dragon’s Head (2008), her trio debut featuring bassist John Hébert and drummer Ches Smith, expanding to a quintet with trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson and alto saxophonist Jon Irabagon on Saturn Sings (2010) and Bending Bridges (2012), a septet with tenor saxophonist Ingrid Laubrock and trombonist Jacob Garchik on Illusionary Sea (2014), and finally an octet with pedal steel guitarist Susan Alcorn on Away With You (2016). She also released the solo recording Meltframe (2015), and most recently debuted Code Girl (2018), a new ensemble featuring vocalist Amirtha Kidambi (singing Halvorson’s own lyrics), trumpeter Adam O’Farrill, saxophonist and vocalist María Grand, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tomas Fujiwara.

One of New York City’s most in-demand guitarists, over the past decade Halvorson has worked with such diverse musicians as Tim Berne, Anthony Braxton, Taylor Ho Bynum, John Dieterich, Trevor Dunn, Bill Frisell, Ingrid Laubrock, Jason Moran, Joe Morris, Tom Rainey, Jessica Pavone, Tomeka Reid, Marc Ribot and John Zorn. She is also part of several collaborative projects, most notably the longstanding trio Thumbscrew with Michael Formanek on bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums.

The concert takes place on Saturday, February 8, at 8 pm in the McGuire Theater. Tickets are $26 ($20.80 Walker members).