In conjunction with the opening of its new building in the Meatpacking District, the Whitney Museum of American Art reaffirms its commitment to young and emerging artists with an ongoing series dedicated to presenting their debut solo exhibitions in the United States. To inaugurate this new initiative, the Museum has announced that three young artists, Jared Madere (b. 1986), Rachel Rose (b. 1986), and Sophia Al-Maria (b. 1983), will receive their first one-person exhibitions in the country over the next year. Since its founding in 1930, the Whitney has had a long and consistent engagement with living artists, often presenting work early in their careers in the Breuer building’s Lobby Gallery or at the Museum’s former Altria satellite branch (1983–2008). With this new emerging series, the Museum builds upon its legacy of introducing upcoming artists to a broader public. In addition, the artists will work closely with the Whitney’s curatorial staff, and will be invited to fully explore the flexible nature of the exhibition spaces in the Museum’s dynamic new building.
Associate curator Christopher Y. Lew, who is organizing all three shows, stated, “The Whitney has had a long tradition of supporting emerging artists which goes back to the Lobby Gallery exhibitions at the Breuer building in the late 1960s. We want to provide a platform for emerging artists at this crucial point in their careers and present to a broad audience the many kinds of new art being made today.”
The three emerging artists to receive their first U.S. solo exhibitions follow:
October 16, 2015–January 3, 2016
Jared Madere (b. 1986), who is based in New York, will create a new installation in the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery on the first floor, which is free to the public. Madere primarily creates installation-based works featuring disparate materials such as salt, flowers, foodstuffs, and plastic tarps that are assembled and aggregated in a manner that insists on their material connections to society, economics, industry, and human emotion. For Madere, the meanings and associations of objects are never stripped away—floral arrangements can point to longing or sadness and a burnt coat is imbued with isolation and dejection. Madere has participated in numerous exhibitions at venues including David Lewis, New York; Bortolami Gallery, New York; Michael Thibault Gallery, Los Angeles; Croy Nielsen, Berlin; and Le Magasin, Grenoble, France; and he is also the founder of Bed-Stuy Love Affair, an artist-run gallery focused on emerging art.
October 30, 2015–February 7, 2016
Based in New York, Rachel Rose (b. 1986) is known for her striking video installations that deftly merge moving images and sound with nuanced environments. Her video and installations address how we define mortality and her subjects range from zoos and a robotics perception lab, to Philip Johnson’s Glass House, the American Revolutionary War and 19th century park design. She anchors these sites in a range of perspectives on death—from our vulnerability to catastrophe to the impact of history on our lifespan. She investigates specific sites and ideas by connecting them to broader, related subject matter. Rose’s presentation in the Whitney’s fifth-floor Kaufman Gallery will physically engage with the architecture of the Museum’s new Renzo Piano–designed building. Using her own footage and found material, Rose addresses the ubiquity of images and how it generates meaning in contemporary society. Rachel Rose lives and works in New York. In addition to her forthcoming solo exhibitions at The Whitney Museum of American Art, she will helm solo shows at Castello di Rivoli, Frieze London, and The Aspen Art Museum.
Sophia Al-Maria (b. 1983) is an artist, writer, and filmmaker who studied comparative literature at the American University in Cairo, and aural and visual cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. For the past few years, she has been carrying out research around the concept of Gulf Futurism. Al Marie is part of an emerging generation of international artists who are mining the intersections of technology, culture, and identity. Her primary interests are around the isolation of individuals via technology and reactionary Islam, the corrosive elements of consumerism and industry and the erasure of history and the blinding approach of a future no one is ready for. She explores these ideas with certain guidebooks and ideas including but not limited to, Zizek’s The Desert of the Unreal, As-Sufi’s Islamic Book of the Dead, as well as imagery from Islamic eschatology, post humanism and the global mythos of Science Fiction.
In 2016, she will premiere a new video at the Whitney, inspired by the Gruen Transfer, a phenomenon in which a controlled environment—combined with visual and auditory stimuli—is used to distract and manipulate consumers. Her work has been exhibited at the Gwangju Biennale, the New Museum in New York, and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Her writing has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Five Dials, Triple Canopy and Bidoun. Her first solo exhibition, Virgin with a Memory, was presented at Cornerhouse, Manchester, in 2014 and her memoir, The Girl Who Fell to Earth, was published by Harper Perennial in 2012. She currently lives and works in Doha, Qatar.