The Whitney To Present Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium

Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium, to be presented at The Whitney Museum of American Art from July 14 through October 1, 2017, is the first retrospective to survey the groundbreaking Brazilian artist’s entire career, including the formative years he spent in New York in the 1970s. One of the most influential Latin American artists of the post–World War II period, Oiticica (1937–80) was a tireless innovator, from his start with the Neo-Concrete movement to his groundbreaking environmental installations. Co-organized by the Whitney together with the Carnegie Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition presents a wide array of his paintings, interactive sculptures, films, audiovisual works, writings, and environments.

Hélio Oiticica (b. 1937), PN1 Penetrable (PN1 Penetrável), 1960. César and Claudio Oiticica Collection, Rio de Janeiro. © César and Claudio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro

Hélio Oiticica (b. 1937), PN1 Penetrable (PN1 Penetrável), 1960. César and Claudio Oiticica Collection, Rio de Janeiro. © César and Claudio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro

Oiticica was one of the most daring artists to appear anywhere in the years following World War II,” said Elisabeth Sussman, co-curator of the exhibition. “In conceiving this show, it was particularly important to us to focus attention on Oiticica’s presence in New York City in the 1970s, a time when many international artists came to live and work here. The expansion of his ideas into film, photography, and writing has been fully explored, as never before, in the research for this exhibition, and the works, some displayed for the first time, identify Oiticica as a paradigmatic presence in the global expansion of art practice in that decade.

Co-curator Donna De Salvo commented: “Oiticica’s departure from traditional notions of the static art object and his transformation of the viewer into an active participant were part of a larger, international desire to integrate art and life. Though his reputation is due primarily to his earlier work in Brazil, Oiticica was drawn to the scene of artistic experimentation in New York, and the eight years he spent working in the United States had a huge impact on his thought and continued to shape his art after his return to Brazil. By calling attention to the distinct differences that he absorbed in each locale, we hope to further the notion of art history as one comprised of multiple stories, and emphasize the Whitney’s expansive definition of who belongs in a museum of American art. This openness to patterns of artistic migration and cross-cultural thinking has a long history at the Whitney, which we are delighted to extend with this important exhibition.”

During his brief but remarkable career, Oiticica seamlessly melded formal and social concerns in his art, seeking to be internationally relevant and, at the same time, specifically Brazilian. The exhibition begins with elegant, geometric works on paper (1955–58): formal investigations in painting and drawing. These dynamic compositions gave way to more radical works as Oiticica became increasingly interested in surpassing the limits of traditional painting. By 1959, his painterly-sculptural Spatial Reliefs and Nuclei broke free of the wall and morphed into three-dimensional investigations of color and form. The Nuclei, composed of panels suspended from the ceiling, created areas through which the viewer could walk.

Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, Oiticica moved further toward the destabilization of the art form, making art that is intended for the viewer to manipulate, wear, and inhabit, including his Parangolés, wearable paintings inspired in part by samba schools in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, and Penetrables, colorful structures for viewers to navigate. In addition to viewing works on display, visitors will be invited to engage interactively with some of the artist’s works.

As Oiticica became further interested in bringing his art into the everyday, he began to create total environments suffused with color, texture, and tactile materials which were increasingly immersive in nature and transformed the viewer from a spectator to an active participant. The exhibition will include a number of these large-scale installations, including Tropicália and Eden. “Tropicália,” a name subsequently borrowed by the musician Caetano Veloso for his anthem against Brazil’s dictatorship, became an important and powerful movement in all the arts. Continue reading

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Generous Gift From The Donald And Barbara Zucker Family Foundation Will Support Whitney’s Popular Pay-What-You-Wish Hours On Friday Evenings

Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, announced today that a generous gift has been made by The Donald and Barbara Zucker Family Foundation to sponsor the Museum’s weekly Pay-What-You-Wish admission hours on Friday evenings from 7 to 10 pm.

This is an immensely significant gift to the Whitney and above all for the public good,” said Mr. Weinberg. “Pay-What-You-Wish admission on Friday evenings enables a wider range of audiences to visit the Museum and experience all that the Whitney offers, especially those who might not be able to afford to visit otherwise. These hours are also extremely popular with a younger segment of our audience, including artists and neighbors, and are an especially important aspect of our commitment to broaden accessibility. I so admire and am deeply touched by the Zuckers’ social conscience and great generosity. We thank them from the bottom of our hearts for supporting our Pay-What-You-Wish Fridays, on behalf of the thousands upon thousands of people who will use this opportunity to visit the Whitney.

Barbara Hrbek Zucker has been a long-time philanthropic champion in the areas of mental health, animal welfare, conservation, education, and the arts. Mrs. Zucker has served as a trustee of the Wildlife Conservation Society, on the board of the Animal Rescue Fund in East Hampton, and as a trustee of the North Shore–LIJ Health System. She was honored as Woman of the Year for her support of the Angel Guardian Home in Brooklyn and received the Veritas Award from the Dominican Sisters of Amityville. Most recently, Mrs. Zucker has been named chair of the board of directors of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

Donald Zucker is chief executive of the Donald Zucker Company and Manhattan Skyline, a leading residential developer. He was born in New York City and raised in Brooklyn, where he attended public school. Mr. Zucker has been active in the New York City business community and governmental affairs throughout his working career. He is an active member of the executive committee of North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, has served as president of the Jewish Center of the Hamptons, and is an avid collector of art.

This gift ensures that the Whitney can continue to be an educational and cultural resource for all New Yorkers, regardless of their ability to pay for an admission ticket,” said Kathryn Potts, Associate Director and Helena Rubinstein Chair of Education at the Whitney. “Our Pay-What-You-Wish hours open up the Museum to new visitors and over time will help the Whitney to build an audience that is as diverse as New York City itself. We are deeply grateful to The Donald and Barbara Zucker Family Foundation for its magnanimous and meaningful sponsorship of this essential program.”

The Whitney Museum of American Art to Showcase Transformative Gift: Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner

November 20, 2015 – March 6, 2016

Celebrating an extraordinary and transformative gift of more than 850 works collectively given to the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Centre Georges Pompidou by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner, both institutions will present consecutive exhibitions featuring a selection of works from the gift. The Whitney’s presentation of Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner opens on November 20 in the Museum’s new downtown home and runs through March 6, 2016. The Pompidou’s exhibition follows the New York presentation, opening in Paris on June 9, 2016. The exhibition is organized by Elisabeth Sussman, curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Christine Macel, chief curator and head of the department of contemporary and prospective creation, Centre Pompidou, with Elisabeth Sherman, assistant curator, Whitney Museum of American Art. An illustrated catalogue documenting the collection will accompany the exhibitions.

Bernadette Corporation, Creation of a False Feeling, 2000. Inkjet print: sheet, 70 1/2 × 49 13/16 (179.1 × 126.5); image, 60 11/16 × 47 1/16 (154.1 × 119.5). Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.10

Bernadette Corporation, Creation of a False Feeling, 2000. Inkjet print: sheet, 70 1/2 × 49 13/16 (179.1 × 126.5); image, 60 11/16 × 47 1/16 (154.1 × 119.5). Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.10

Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director, noted, “We are delighted to present this exhibition in honor of the magnanimous gift of art we received from Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner—one of the largest in the Whitney’s history and a tremendous statement of support for the Museum and its new building. Thea and Ethan are among the most astute collectors of late twentieth-century and early twenty-first-century art and their gift adds enormous strength to the Whitney’s collection. We are deeply grateful to them and are pleased to be collaborating with our friends at the Pompidou.”

This exhibition celebrates this remarkable gift as well as the perspicacious collecting of Westreich Wagner and Wagner by exploring several of the ideas and themes that recur in the collection across generations, mediums, and nationalities: the rise of mass media and the darker side of advertising; the adoption of street style and the punk aesthetic; the decorative arts and their ability to communicate often political messages; reflections on how technology has radically altered commerce, communication, and industry; and the artist as celebrity, among others.

Charline von Heyl, Boogey, 2004. Acrylic, oil, and charcoal on canvas, 82 1/16 × 78 1/8 (208.4 × 198.4) Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2011.472

Charline von Heyl, Boogey, 2004. Acrylic, oil, and charcoal on canvas, 82 1/16 × 78 1/8 (208.4 × 198.4)
Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2011.472

Westreich Wagner and Wagner began collecting art in the 1980s and continue to collect today. They have consistently focused their attention on emerging artists, acquiring works soon after they were made, often straight out of the artists’ studios. Many of these artists were relatively unknown at the time, but have since become some of the most heralded figures of their generation—notably Robert Gober, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Christopher Wool. The couple has also pursued a specific interest in photography, building deep holdings of the work of landmark figures such as Lee Friedlander and Robert Adams while also acquiring photographs by a diverse range of artists, including Liz Deschenes, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Annette Kelm, and Josephine Pryde. Continuously motivated by the learning challenges posed by new expressions and ideas, the two have examined the world around them through the eyes of the artists whose work they follow and acquire; their collection is a unique, personal reflection on the “contemporary moment” as it has evolved over the last several decades.

Liz Deschenes, Green Screen #7, 2001. Chromogenic print: sheet, 49 9/16 × 66 (125.9 × 167.6) Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.12

Liz Deschenes, Green Screen #7, 2001. Chromogenic print: sheet, 49 9/16 × 66 (125.9 × 167.6)
Promised gift of Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner P.2014.12

The gift to the Whitney encompasses nearly five hundred and fifty works, representing a cross section of mediums, by more than seventy-five artists and collectives. In some cases works are by artists who will enter the collection for the first time and in others they add depth to our holdings of artists we have championed. The Pompidou is receiving more than three hundred works by some forty European artists. While the collection is divided between the two institutions, with works by American artists going to the Whitney and by non-American artists going to the Pompidou, the exhibitions draw from both gifts aiming to reveal the international dialogue intrinsic to contemporary art. Continue reading

The Whitney Museum OF American Art To Debut Frank Stella: A Retrospective, Opening October 30

The most comprehensive career retrospective in the U.S. to date of the work of Frank Stella, co-organized by The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, will debut at the Whitney this fall. Frank Stella: A Retrospective brings together the artist’s best-known works installed alongside lesser known examples to reveal the extraordinary scope and diversity of his nearly sixty-year career. Approximately 100 works, including icons of major museum and private collections, will be shown. Along with paintings, reliefs, sculptures, and prints, a selection of drawings and maquettes have been included to shed light on Stella’s conceptual and material process. Frank Stella: A Retrospective is organized by Michael Auping, Chief Curator, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, in association with Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, with the involvement of Carrie Springer, Assistant Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

The exhibition will be on view at the Whitney from October 30, 2015 through February 7, 2016, and at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth from April 17 through September 4, 2016; it will subsequently travel to the DeYoung Museum, San Francisco. This will be the inaugural special exhibition and the first career retrospective devoted to a living artist in the Whitney’s new downtown home on Gansevoort Street. It will fill the entire 18,000-square-foot fifth floor—the Museum’s largest gallery for temporary exhibitions. Annabelle Selldorf, Selldorf Architects, is doing the exhibition design for the Whitney installation.

A Stella retrospective presents many challenges,” remarks Auping, “given Frank’s need from the beginning of his career to immediately and continually make new work in response to previous series. And he has never been timid about making large, even monumental, works. The result has been an enormous body of work represented by many different series. Our goal has been to summarize without losing the raw texture of his many innovations.”

It’s not merely the length of his career, it is the intensity of his work and his ability to reinvent himself as an artist over and over again over six decades that make his contribution so important,” said Weinberg. “Frank is a radical innovator who has, from the beginning, absorbed the lessons of art history and then remade the world on his own artistic terms. He is a singular American master and we are thrilled to be celebrating his astonishing accomplishment.

Frank Stella.   Die Fahne hoch!,   1959.  Enamel on canvas, 121 5/8 x 72 13/16 in.  Whitney  Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Schwartz and purchase, With funds from the John I.H. Baur Purchase Fund; the Charles and Anita Blatt Fund; Peter M. Brant; B.H. Friedman ; the Gilman Foundation, Inc.; Susan Morse Hilles; The Lauder Foundation;  Frances and Sydney Lewis; the Albert A. List Fund; Philip Morris Incorporated; Sandra Payson;  Mr. and Mrs. Albrecht Saalfied; Mrs. Percy Uris; Warner Communications, Inc. and the National Endowment for the Arts  75.22  © 2014 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Frank Stella. Die Fahne hoch!, 1959. Enamel on canvas, 121 5/8 x 72 13/16 in.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Schwartz and purchase,
With funds from the John I.H. Baur Purchase Fund; the Charles and Anita Blatt Fund; Peter M. Brant;
B.H. Friedman ; the Gilman Foundation, Inc.; Susan Morse Hilles; The Lauder Foundation;
Frances and Sydney Lewis; the Albert A. List Fund; Philip Morris Incorporated; Sandra Payson;
Mr. and Mrs. Albrecht Saalfied; Mrs. Percy Uris; Warner Communications, Inc. and the National
Endowment for the Arts 75.22 © 2014 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Born in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1936, Frank Stella attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and then Princeton University, where he studied art history and painting. In college, he produced a number of sophisticated paintings that demonstrated his understanding of the various vocabularies that had brought abstract painting into international prominence. After graduating in 1958, Stella moved to New York and achieved almost immediate fame with his Black Paintings (1958–60), which were included in The Museum of Modern Art’s seminal exhibition Sixteen Americans in 1959–60.

The Leo Castelli Gallery in New York held Stella’s first one-person show in 1962. The Museum of Modern Art, under William Rubin’s stewardship, presented his first retrospective only a few years later, in 1970, when Stella was only thirty-four years old. A second retrospective was held at MoMA in 1987. Since then, Stella has been the subject of countless exhibitions throughout the world, including a major retrospective in Wolfsburg in 2012. Frank Stella: A Retrospective is the first survey of the artist’s career in the U.S. since 1987. He was appointed the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University in 1983. “Working Space,” his provocative lecture series (later published as a book), addresses the issue of pictorial space in postmodern art. Stella has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2009 National Medal of Arts and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center, as well as the Isabella and Theodor Dalenson Lifetime Achievement Award from Americans for the Arts (2011) and the National Artist Award at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Aspen (2015).

Frank Stella, Gobba, zoppa e collotorto, 1985. Oil, urethane enamel, fluorescent alkyd, acrylic, and printing ink on etched magnesium and aluminum. 137 x 120 1/8 x 34 3/8 in. (348 x 305 x 87.5 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize Fund; Ada Turnbull Hertle Endowment 1986.93. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Frank Stella, Gobba, zoppa e collotorto, 1985. Oil, urethane enamel, fluorescent alkyd, acrylic, and printing ink on etched magnesium and aluminum. 137 x 120 1/8 x 34 3/8 in. (348 x 305 x 87.5 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize Fund; Ada Turnbull Hertle Endowment 1986.93. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Throughout his career, Stella has challenged the boundaries of painting and accepted notions of style. Though his early work allied him with the emerging minimalist approach, Stella’s style has evolved to become more complex and dynamic over the years as he has continued his investigation into the nature of abstract painting.

Adam Weinberg and Marla Price, Director of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, note in the directors’ foreword to the catalogue, “Abstract art constitutes the major, and in many ways, defining artistic statement of the twentieth century and it remains a strong presence in this century. Many artists have played a role in its development, but there are a few who stand out in terms of both their innovations and perseverance. Frank Stella is one of those. As institutions devoted to the history and continued development of contemporary art, we are honored to present this tribute to one of the greatest abstract painters of our time.

The exhibition begins with rarely seen early works, such as East Broadway(1958), from the collection of Addison Gallery of American Art, which show Stella’s absorption of Abstract Expressionism and predilections for colors and composition that would appear throughout the artist’s career.

Stella’s highly acclaimed Black Paintings follow. Their black stripes executed with enamel house paint were a critical step in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Minimalism. The exhibition includes such major works as Die Fahne hoch! (1959), a masterpiece from the Whitney’s own collection, and The Marriage of Reason and Squalor II (1959) from The Museum of Modern Art’s collection. A selection of the artist’s Aluminum and Copper Paintings of 1960–61, featuring metallic paint and shaped canvases, further establish Stella’s key role in the development of American Minimalism.

Even with his early success, Stella continued to experiment in order to advance the language of abstraction. The chronological presentation of Stella’s work tracks the artist’s exploration of the relationship between color, structure, and abstract illusionism, beginning with his Benjamin Moore series and Concentric Square Paintings of the early 1960s and 70s—including the masterpiece Jasper’s Dilemma (1962). In his Dartmouth, Notched V, and Running V paintings, Stella combines often shocking color with complex shaped canvases that mirror the increasingly dynamic movement of his painted bands. These were followed by the even more radically shaped Irregular Polygon Paintings, such as Chocorua IV (1966) from the Hood Museum, with internally contrasting geometric forms painted in vibrant fluorescent hues; and the monumental Protractor Paintings, such as Harran II (1967) from the Guggenheim‘s collection, composed of curvilinear forms with complex chromatic variations. Continue reading

WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART RECEIVES MULTI-YEAR GIFT TO EXPAND ITS EDUCATION PROGRAMS FROM THE STEVEN & ALEXANDRA COHEN FOUNDATION

It was announced that The Whitney Museum of American Art has received a $2 million gift from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation to support its award-winning education programs. Over the next five years, the Foundation’s gift will provide essential support for the Museum’s education programs which serve children, teens, seniors, and the community at large.

The Whitney’s new building houses the Laurie M. Tisch Education Center, the hub of the Museum’s Education Department. Education programs, one of the central concerns of the Museum, aim to make the Whitney a dynamic platform for audiences to experience art as integral to their own lives and the world around us. Whitney educators work in multifaceted ways as facilitators, translators, advocates, and producers, as well as teachers and are committed to an approach that privileges research, responsiveness, and reflection. As educators, they create opportunities for visitors with different needs, experiences, and interests to make meaningful connections with art. The Whitney engages the community through a range of programs, reaching out to people at schools, community-based organizations, senior centers, and those living in NYCHA housing. Better understanding of these audiences and collaboration with other organizations that serve them has been central to the Museum’s planning for its new programming. The Whitney has devoted resources and research to understanding the needs and priorities of New York City audiences and has worked to develop long-term relationships with the Whitney’s audiences by fostering their understanding and love of art.

School Guided Visits and Educator Programs: Students from New York City public schools are welcome to visit the Whitney free of charge. Themed, guided visits to the Museum’s galleries for K–12 students allow them to explore the multifaceted roles artists play in our culture—as experimenters, observers, critics, and storytellers—and forge thoughtful connections between classroom learning and the art on view. The Whitney also offers guided visits and studio workshops in its Hearst Artspace, a space that can be used for making art, where students can experiment with art materials and techniques following their tours of the Museum. Programs for K–12 teachers include special preview events, conferences, and Teacher Exchange, a yearlong program in which participants trade ideas with colleagues, Museum educators, artists, and curators.

School Partnerships: Long-term, multi-year partnerships with a number of New York City schools include tours when the Museum is closed to the public, work with museum educators in the classroom, hands-on art workshops, professional development workshops, and parent involvement programs. Museum educators work closely with administrators and teachers from partnership schools to design and implement programs that meet their specific needs.

Teen Programs: Youth Insights is an after-school program that connects New York City high school students to contemporary art and artists, providing opportunities to work collaboratively, discuss art critically, think creatively, and make art inspired by the exchange. Semester-long programs introduce students to the Whitney’s art and artists, while participants in a yearlong Leaders program plan events and tours for their peers. Offered in the summer, Youth Insights Arts Careers introduces teens to careers in the arts and practical job skills, and Youth Insights Introductions provides experiences at the Whitney for high school students who are English Language Learners and recent immigrants. Large-scale and drop-in teen programs, including teen openings, workshops, and artist-led events, reach additional New York City teens.

Community Programs: Community Programs build sustained connections that go beyond the single museum visit, bringing art, ideas, and dialogue to classrooms, senior centers, and community-based organizations around the city. The program offer extended programming tailored to the needs and interests of partner organizations, promoting the Museum as an essential resource. Since 1994, the Whitney has partnered with some of New York’s most vital community-based senior organizations, such as United Neighborhood Houses, to create customized programs that challenge seniors to actively engage with the Whitney’s collection and exhibitions, make art, share ideas, and relate what they learn to their own lives and experiences.

Access Programs: The Whitney invites visitors of all abilities to experience the richness and complexity of American art in an inclusive, welcoming environment. Access Programs include Whitney Signs (tours in American Sign Language led by expert deaf educators), Verbal Description and Touch Tours that allow visitors to experience the Whitney’s exhibitions with a highly skilled museum educator trained to provide vivid, detailed verbal description of the works on view, while experiencing a selection of objects through touch; and the Vlog Project, the Whitney’s award-winning, open-captioned, online video series in American Sign Language.

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation’s generous gift recognizes that education is one of the cornerstones of the Whitney’s mission. Visiting the Museum can be a life-changing experience at any age, opening us up to new ideas and ways of thinking, increasing our understanding of the human condition, and showing us how artists perceive the world,” said Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney. “Our education programs deepen and enrich our experience of art and enhance our power to see and to think about what we’ve seen. We are profoundly grateful for Steven and Alexandra Cohen’s ongoing support, which enables us to continue this essential aspect of our work.”

The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is committed to inspiring philanthropy and community service—with a special interest in children’s health, education, veterans and the arts—by creating awareness, offering guidance and leading by example to show the world what giving can do. In 2014 the Cohen Foundation co-sponsored the Whitney’s Jeff Koons retrospective, providing support, lending works, and enabling the Whitney to expand the number of New York City public school tours of the exhibition, the Museum’s final offering uptown before moving to the Meatpacking District. In the past, the Cohen Foundation has supported Whitney exhibitions devoted to the work of Christian Marclay and Terence Koh.

Steven and I were inspired to give more after we saw the amazing impact that art has on children first-hand at the Whitney’s Jeff Koons exhibition last summer,” said Alex Cohen, President of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. “Jeff helped the art come alive to the kids and engaged them in a completely different way. We are thrilled that our gift will help the Whitney expand their education programs and reach more people in our community.”

The Cohen Foundation’s gift will enable the Museum to further offer more free guided visits to students from New York City Schools; to continue to expand its public school and community partnerships; to serve an even more diverse group of teens through its renowned after school programs; and to provide expanded art workshops and open access days for senior citizens and community members. As such, the hope is that the Museum will become an even more vital resource and cultural anchor in its new downtown community and will help to build and expand an audience for the Whitney’s exhibitions and programs that is as diverse as New York City itself.

Kathryn Potts, Associate Director and Helena Rubinstein Chair of Education at the Whitney, commented, “We are enormously grateful to the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation for recognizing the importance of education at the Whitney and for continuing to support the Museum. With the opening of the new Whitney downtown we have been given an unprecedented opportunity to consider what an art museum can be and do for our community. Just as the Whitney’s new building, with its transparency, outdoor spaces, and free first-floor gallery, suggests a receptive relationship between the Museum and the surrounding community, our education programming works to open up the Whitney to New York City’s students, teens, families, artists, schools, seniors, and neighborhood residents. The Whitney’s new downtown home is situated in a diverse neighborhood with a rich artistic and industrial history, and this grant will help the Museum to become a community anchor in this evolving cultural district.”

The Whitney Museum of American Art Announces New Expansion of its Leadership Team

Appoints Donna De Salvo to New Position of Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, and Scott Rothkopf to Deputy Director for Programs and Chief Curator

Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, today announced that the Museum is expanding its leadership team by appointing Donna De Salvo to the new position of Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, and Scott Rothkopf to Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, effective July 1, 2015. The move is designed to bolster the Whitney’s leadership in response to the recent growth of the Museum, the ever-widening programming opportunities available in its new building, and in anticipation of the greater role the Museum expects to play on the internationally art front.

In her new role, Donna De Salvo, who has served as the Whitney’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs since 2006, will help lead the Museum’s efforts to define and communicate an expanded and more complex understanding of American art and artists in contemporary culture globally. In addition to organizing exhibitions, De Salvo will encourage greater visibility for the Whitney through programs, professional exchanges,

Donna De Salvo, the new Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator at The Whitney Museum of American Art

Donna De Salvo, the new Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator at The Whitney Museum of American Art

and institutional development. De Salvo will also be involved in long-term strategic planning for the institution.

In addition to leading the curatorial team for the Whitney’s inaugural collection display America Is Hard to See, Miss De Salvo has curated Full House: The Whitney’s Collection at 75 (2006) and Robert Irwin: Scrim veil—Black rectangle—Natural light, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1977) (2013). Among the exhibitions she has co-curated are Sinister Pop (2012–13, with Scott Rothkopf), Signs & Symbols (2012, with Jane Panetta), Lawrence Weiner: AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE (2007–08, with Ann Goldstein) and Roni Horn aka Roni Horn (2009–10, with Carter Foster and Mark Godfrey). With Linda Norden, she co-curated Course of Empire: Paintings by Ed Ruscha for the United States Pavilion at the 51st Venice Biennale, an exhibition that was also presented at the Whitney (2005–06).

Prior to working at the Whitney, De Salvo served for five years as a Senior Curator at Tate Modern, London, where she curated such exhibitions such as Open Systems: Rethinking Art c. 1970 (2005); Marsyas (Anish Kapoor’s 2003 work commissioned by Tate Modern for its Turbine Hall); and Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis (2001). Among the exhibitions she has curated at other institutions are Hand-Painted Pop: American Art in Transition, 1955–1962 (MOCA Los Angeles, 1992–93), Staging Surrealism (Wexner Center for the Arts, 1997–98), and A Museum Looks at Itself: Mapping Past and Present at the Parrish Art Museum (Parrish Art Museum, 1992).

From 1981 to 1986, De Salvo was a curator at the Dia Art Foundation, where she worked closely with several of its artists, including John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Donald Judd, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol. A noted expert on the work of Warhol, she was Adjunct Curator for the Andy Warhol Museum and was curator of Andy Warhol: Disaster Paintings, 1963 (Dia Art Foundation, 1986), Andy Warhol: Hand-Painted Images, 1960–62 (Dia Art Foundation, 1987), “Success is a Job in New York”: The early art and business of Andy Warhol (Grey Art Gallery, 1989), and a retrospective of the artist’s work at Tate Modern (2002). She is currently developing a thematic retrospective of Warhol’s work to be presented at the Whitney in 2018.

She has written catalogues and essays and lectured on a wide range of modern and contemporary artists, including Barbara Bloom, Lee Bontecou, John Chamberlain, William Eggleston, Isa Genzken, Robert Gober, Philip Guston, Wade Guyton, Ray Johnson, Anish Kapoor, Per Kirkeby, Barbara Kruger, Giorgio Morandi, Barnett Newman, Chris Ofili, Gerhard Richter, Robert Smithson, Cy Twombly, Mark Wallinger, and Gillian Wearing. A recipient of the Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Award from the College Art Association, she has participated in many international juries and review panels and has taught at the curatorial studies programs at Bard College and The Royal College of Art.

Donna De Salvo stated, “I am delighted to be entrusted with the responsibilities of this new position to carry forward our work and to further enhance and extend what American art means on a world stage. I believe we have created a framework, both architecturally and programmatically, that provides endless possibilities in future. I am especially excited by the prospect of working together with Scott Rothkopf in his new role and on our expanded mission for the Museum.”

Scott Rothkopf, presently Nancy and Steve Crown Family Curator and Associate Director of Programs, joined the Whitney as Curator in 2009. In his new role, he will oversee the curatorial department and exhibition activities, direct the growth and display of the collection, and shape the Whitney’s programmatic vision. Taking advantage of the Museum’s new and greatly increased indoor and outdoor spaces, he will oversee expanded visual,

Scott Rothkopf, The Whitney's new  Deputy Director for Programs and Chief Curator

Scott Rothkopf, The Whitney’s new Deputy Director for Programs and Chief Curator

performing, and media arts offerings as well as continue to organize exhibitions himself.

Rothkopf most recently served on the curatorial team responsible for the Whitney’s inaugural collection display America Is Hard to See. At the Whitney he has also curated Mary Heilmann: Sunset (2015), Jeff Koons: A Retrospective (2014), Sinister Pop (2012–13, with Donna De Salvo),Wade Guyton OS (2012–13), Glenn Ligon: AMERICA (2011), Singular Visions (2010, with Dana Miller), and Whitney on Site: Guyton\Walker (2010).

Prior to joining the Whitney, Rothkopf served as Senior Editor of Artforum International from 2004 through 2009, where he was a frequent contributor of feature reviews and essays. He began his curatorial career at the Harvard University Art Museums, organizing Mel Bochner: Photographs, 1966–1969 (2002) and Huyghe + Corbusier: Harvard Project (2004, with Linda Norden). He also served as a contributing curator to the Biennale de Lyon in 2007, for a project with Guyton.

Rothkopf has published widely on the work of contemporary artists, including Paul Chan, Diller and Scofidio, Carroll Dunham, Katharina Fritsch, Eva Hesse, Jasper Johns, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Josiah McElheny, Takashi Murakami, Laura Owens, Elizabeth Peyton, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Paul Thek, Kelley Walker, T. J. Wilcox, Terry Winters, and Karen Kilimnik, who was the subject of his 2007 book, Period Eye: Karen Kilimnik’s Fancy Pictures, co-authored with Meredith Martin. He also served as editor of Yourself in the World (2011), a volume of the collected writings and interviews of Glenn Ligon.

Rothkopf is a member of the board of trustees of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, and has been a visiting critic at Hunter College, Yale University’s School of Art, and the University of Southern California, among many others. He has served on numerous juries, including those of the Deste Foundation and the American Academy in Rome. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in the history of art and architecture from Harvard University.

Rothkopf stated, “The Whitney has long been known as the artists’ museum, a reputation that captures our intimate and profound commitment to artists and their work. In our new home we will further develop our venturesome approach to challenging exhibitions, collection displays, and an innovative performance program, as well as create new connections among them. It is a great honor to be chosen to take this project forward and to expand on the extraordinary accomplishments of Donna De Salvo.”

In announcing the new positions, Weinberg stated, “The Whitney is poised to take on greater challenges and growing its leadership is essential to extending the Museum’s reach. No one is better prepared to take on the important work of redefining the Whitney’s role on the international stage than Donna De Salvo, whose experience, insight, and innovative thinking have been central to our move downtown. As can be seen in the presentation of the Whitney’s collection in our new home, led brilliantly by Donna, we are exploring as never before the layered, nuanced, and changing meanings of the term ‘American art’ within contemporary global culture. In her new role, Donna will build on that experimentation and thinking.

Scott Rothkopf has brought a singular combination of scholarship, critical acumen, and curatorial talent to the Whitney,” Weinberg continued. “His achievements over the past half-dozen years have been remarkable; his vision, inventiveness, and leadership abilities are manifest. We’re proud to welcome him as our new Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, charged with overseeing all facets of the Museum’s curatorial program. Scott’s enthusiasm, energy, and passion for the Whitney’s mission—with living artists at its core—make him the perfect choice to expand and enrich our curatorial offerings at this historic turning point for the Whitney. We are particularly grateful to our trustee Nancy Crown and her husband Steve for so generously endowing this position.

 

 

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA JOINS WITH DIGNITARIES AND ARTISTS TO DEDICATE THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Architect Renzo Piano, Director Adam D. Weinberg, and Whitney Trustees Open the New Home for American Art and Artists

Members of The Wooster Group cutting the ribbon at the Dedication Ceremony of The Whitney Museum of American Art in its new location in Downtown Manhattan's Meatpacking Distcrict (Photograph by Filip Wolak and provided by The Whitney Museum of American Art)

Members of The Wooster Group cutting the ribbon at the Dedication Ceremony of The Whitney Museum of American Art in its new location in Downtown Manhattan’s Meatpacking District (Photograph by Filip Wolak and provided by The Whitney Museum of American Art)

The First Lady of the United States  of America Michelle Obama speaking at the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting of the (new) Whitney Museum of American Art, Thursday, April 30th ((Photograph by Filip Wolak and provided by The Whitney Museum of American Art)

The First Lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama speaking at the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting of the (new) Whitney Museum of American Art, Thursday, April 30th ((Photograph by Filip Wolak and provided by The Whitney Museum of American Art)

At a festive ceremony held today in downtown Manhattan, First Lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama joined with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to officially open the new Whitney Museum of American Art, now housed in a 220,000-square-foot building set beside the Hudson River at the foot of the High Line elevated park in the Meatpacking District.

(Left to Right) Adam D. Weinberg Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art; Michelle Obama First Lady of the United States of America; The Honorable Bill de Blasio Mayor of the City of New York; and Flora Miller Biddle Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Whitney Museum of American Art and granddaughter of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney at the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting of the (new) Whitney Museum of American Art, Thursday, April 30th ((Photograph by Filip Wolak and provided by The Whitney Museum of American Art)

(Left to Right) Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art; Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States of America; The Honorable Bill de Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York; and Flora Miller Biddle
Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Whitney Museum of American Art and granddaughter of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney at the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting of the (new) Whitney Museum of American Art, Thursday, April 30th ((Photograph by Filip Wolak and provided by The Whitney Museum of American Art)

In her remarks, First Lady Michelle Obama said, “I fell in love with the building. It is an amazing space…One visit, one performance, one touch, and who knows how you could spark a child’s imagination….Just about every space in this museum is magnificent.  And that’s really one of the joys of this new building so brilliantly designed by Renzo Piano -– the variety of spaces it has for artists to engage and experiment and truly have their work be seen. 

So I really can’t think of a better theme for this inaugural exhibit than “America is Hard to See.”  Because that title isn’t just a statement of fact, it’s a challenge that the Whitney has embraced with open arms –- the challenge of truly seeing America in all of its glory and complexity.  With this exhibit, all of you at the Whitney — the staff, everyone here, all the artists — have asked the question, “How can we truly, fully witness the melting pot of cultures and sensibilities and struggles that make America unlike any other country on earth?”

This is a bold, very hard question.  And this exhibit isn’t trying to provide any kind of definitive answer.  Instead, it’s doing something even more important — it’s inviting us to answer this question for ourselves, each of us reflecting and rethinking our assumptions as we walk through these galleries.  And I think that will be an incredibly powerful experience for anyone who comes here to visit.  But it will be particularly powerful for our young people.

She also touched on the fact that “high” culture in America has also left behind a wide segment of the population who needs it the most: Children in urban areas who thinks that museums and other high art venues are beyond their scope of experience and entry, woefully leaving them behind.

You see, there are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers and they think to themselves, well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood.  In fact, I guarantee you that right now, there are kids living less than a mile from here who would never in a million years dream that they would be welcome in this museum. 

And growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was one of those kids myself.  So I know that feeling of not belonging in a place like this.  And today, as First Lady, I know how that feeling limits the horizons of far too many of our young people.

And that’s one of the reasons why Barack and I, when we first came to Washington, we vowed to open up the White House to as many young people as possible, especially those who ordinarily wouldn’t have a chance to visit.  So just about every time we host any kind of cultural event, a concert or performance, we ask the performers to come a few hours early and host a special workshop just for our young people. 

The message we’re trying to send is simple.  We’re telling our young people:  The White House is your house.  You belong here just as much as anyone else in this country.  We’re telling them:  Make yourselves at home in this house.  Be inspired by the artists and performers you see.  And start dreaming just a little bigger, start reaching just a little higher for yourself.  

And with this inaugural exhibition, the Whitney is really sending the same message to young people and to people of every background across this country.  You’re telling them that their story is part of the American story, and that they deserve to be seen.  And you’re sending that message not just with the art you display, but with the educational programming you run here.  You’re reaching out to kids from all backgrounds, exposing them to the arts, showing them that they have something to contribute.

And in the end, that’s why I’m here today, and I know that’s why we’re all here today.  I’m here because I believe so strongly in that mission, and because I think that every cultural institution in this country should be doing this kind of outreach and engagement with our young people every single day. Maybe you can discover the next Carmen Herrera, or Archibald Motley, or Edward Hopper, or maybe even the next Barack Obama. That is the power of institutions like the Whitney. They open their doors as wide as possible both to the artists they embrace and to the young people they seek to uplift. That’s what happens. And today I am so proud to be here as we open these doors…I truly cannot wait to see the impact this extraordinary museum will have in the years ahead.

Also speaking at the dedication ceremony were Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney; architect Renzo Piano; and leaders of the Whitney’s Board of Trustees: Co-Chairmen Robert J. Hurst and Brooke Garber Neidich, President Neil G. Bluhm, and Honorary Chairman Flora Miller Biddle, granddaughter of artist and Museum founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.

The new building returns the Museum to the downtown area where it was founded in 1930. With indoor and outdoor spaces that offer panoramic views east across the city, west across the Hudson River, and south toward the Statue of Liberty, the building doubles the Museum’s previous gallery space, enabling the Whitney for the first time to present exhibitions and programs in the context of the world’s foremost collection of modern and contemporary American art.

New York City Major Bill de Blasio speaking at the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting of the (new) Whitney Museum of American Art, Thursday, April 30th ((Photograph by Filip Wolak and provided by The Whitney Museum of American Art)

New York City Major Bill de Blasio speaking at the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting of the (new) Whitney Museum of American Art, Thursday, April 30th ((Photograph by Filip Wolak and provided by The Whitney Museum of American Art)

New York City Major Bill de Blasio said, “We already knew we were the mecca of the art world but just in case we needed to make it clearer, this museum does it. As New Yorkers, we are extraordinarily proud. We’re proud that people from around the world come to experience our cultural life.

Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney speaking at the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting of the (new) Whitney Museum of American Art, Thursday, April 30th ((Photograph by Filip Wolak and provided by The Whitney Museum of American Art)

Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney speaking at the dedication ceremony and ribbon-cutting of the (new) Whitney Museum of American Art, Thursday, April 30th ((Photograph by Filip Wolak and provided by The Whitney Museum of American Art)

The Museum’s director, Adam D. Weinberg, stated, “Our architect, Renzo Piano, has done an extraordinary job merging the private with the civic: creating spaces that reaffirm one’s humanity through scale and material. He has connected the world of art within, with the experience of the world without— making room for contemplation of art, and of life. In short, in collaboration with the talented, generous, and missionary staff of the Whitney Museum — notable among them Donna De Salvo our Deputy Director for Programs and Chief Curator —they have created a museum that exemplifies and furthers Gertrude’s vision of a home for contemporary art and artists —remembering that even historical works on view were contemporary in their time and, presented effectively as the curatorial staff has done here today, can be as potent as the day they were made….The Whitney has always believed in the importance of the present—the capacity for artists to act in and effect the life of our times, to alter perceptions in such ways that might enable one to change the course of history…We are here for those artists as they are here for us. Our new home was designed for and is now re-consecrated in this belief. This is our gift to our city, our nation, and the world as it was Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s in her time.” Continue reading