“Around Day’s End” Debuts at the Whitney September 3

On September 3, the Whitney will debut Around Day’s End: Downtown New York, 1970–1986. The exhibition pays homage to Gordon Matta-Clark’s legendary Day’s End (1975) and features works by twenty-two artists who engaged with the Meatpacking District and West Side piers, among other downtown Manhattan locations, in the 1970s and early 1980s. Around Day’s End also anticipates David Hammons‘s monumental public artwork Day’s End, to be completed in late fall 2020 and located directly across from the Whitney in Hudson River Park. Drawn primarily from the Whitney’s collection, the exhibition is organized by Laura Phipps, assistant curator, with Christie Mitchell, senior curatorial assistant, and runs through October 25, 2020.

Image credit: Gordon Matta‑Clark, Day’s End Pier 52.3 (Documentation of the action “Day’s End” made in 1975 in New York, United States), 1975 (printed 1977). Gelatin silver print: sheet, 8 × 10 in. (20.3 × 25.4 cm); image, 7 × 9 3/4 in. (17.8 × 24.8 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Harold Berg 2017.134. © Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

In 1975, Matta-Clark created Day’s End in a former shipping warehouse on Pier 52, which stood on the Hudson River across from the Museum’s current home. Matta-Clark cut massive openings into the dilapidated pier shed’s walls, roof, and floor. He wanted to transform the building into a “temple to sun and water.” Also titled Day’s End, Hammons’s sculpture is a meditation on Matta-Clark’s intervention. Hammons first proposed his sculpture to the Museum in 2014 and it is nearing completion this fall during a period of profound crisis and uncertainty. While it conjures the layered history of the neighborhood and the river, Hammons’s project acts as an evocative landmark for the reimagining of the site and serves as a powerful testament to the tenacity and resilience of New York.

“David Hammons’s much anticipated public art project provides a unique opportunity to not only think about the complex history of the Pier 52 site, but to also consider the time and conditions that existed when Matta-Clark’s Day’s End was conceived in 1975. Around Day’s End explores these related stories,” explained assistant curator Laura Phipps, an organizer of the exhibition. “While there is something disquieting about today’s parallels with many of issues and the conditions these artists were addressing at that time—economic uncertainty, crumbling infrastructure, disappearing public space—it can also be reassuring or inspiring to look back at the incisive approaches artists took with the physical material and ephemeral ideas of New York City to imagine ways through and forward.”

ARTISTS IN THE EXHIBITION

  • Alvin Baltrop (b. 1948; Bronx, NY, , d. 2004; New York, NY)
  • Jean-Michel Basquiat (b. 1960; Brooklyn, NY, d. 1988; New York, NY)
  • Dawoud Bey (b. 1953; Queens, NY)
  • Mel Bochner (b. 1940; Pittsburgh, PA)
  • Christo (b. 1935; Gabrovo, Bulgaria, d. 2020; New York, NY)
  • János Kender (b. 1938; Baja, Hungary; d. 2009; West Palm Beach, FL)
  • Gordon Matta-Clark (b. 1943; New York, NY, d. 1978; Nyack, NY)
  • Robert Morris (b. 1931; Kansas City, MO, d. 2018; Kingston, NY)
  • Martha Rosler (b. 1943; Brooklyn, NY)
  • Richard Serra (b. 1938; San Francisco, CA)
  • Harry Shunk (b. 1924; Leipzig, Germany, d. 2006; New York, NY)
  • Carol Goodden (b. 1940; London, United Kingdom)
  • David Hammons (b. 1943; Springfield, IL)
  • Peter Hujar (b. 1934; Trenton, NJ, d. 1987; New York, NY)
  • G. Peter Jemison (b. 1945; Silver Creek, NY, Seneca Nation of Indians, Heron Clan)
  • Joan Jonas (b. 1936; New York, NY)
  • Kiki Smith (b. 1954; Nuremberg, Germany)
  • Anton van Dalen (b. 1938; Amstelveen, Netherlands)
  • William Wegman (b. 1943; Holyoke, MA)
  • David Wojnarowicz (b. 1954; Red Bank, NJ, d. 1992; New York, NY)
  • Martin Wong (b. 1946; Portland, OR, d. 1999; San Francisco, CA)
  • Jimmy Wright (b. 1944; Union City, NJ)

The works featured in the exhibition intervene in the urban fabric of the city in various ways: Matta-Clark and Joan Jonas present the city itself as a character, pointing to New York as a place that embodies both presence and invisibility. For other artists, like Alvin Baltrop and Jimmy Wright, the periphery of the city became synonymous for historically marginalized populations; their depictions of the West Side piers and Meatpacking District reveal how queer life found community and intimacy in forgotten, and reclaimed, corners. Martin Wong and others made visceral works that looked at the ways particular downtown neighborhoods, like the Bowery and Lower East Side, were impacted by deteriorating economic conditions. For these artists the city was and remains material, inspiration, specter, and provocation.

The exhibition also includes an architectural model for Hammons’s public art project, which the Whitney is realizing with the Hudson River Park Trust. Around Day’s End is installed in the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery, on the Museum’s first floor, which is accessible to the public free-of-charge. All visitors and members must reserve timed tickets in advance at whitney.org.

Major support for Around Day’s End: Downtown New York, 1970–1986 is provided by the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation.

The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort Street between Washington and West Streets, New York City. Beginning September 3, 2020, public hours are: Monday and Thursday: 11:30 am–6 pm; Friday: 1:30–9 pm; Saturday and Sunday: 1–6 pm. Member-only hours are: Monday and Thursday: 6–7 pm; Saturday and Sunday: 10:30 am–1 pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission is pay-what-you-wish through September 28, 2020. Visitors 18 years & under and Whitney members: FREE. Reserve timed-entry tickets in advance at whitney.org. For more information on reopening visit whitney.org. For general information please call (212) 570-3600 or visit whitney.org.

The Whitney Announces 2020 Exhibition Schedule

It looks as if it will be another banner year of thought-provoking and wide-ranging exhibitions during the coming year at The Whitney Museum of American Art. (And one should not expect any less.) Announcing the schedule for 2020 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, noted: “In 2020 the Whitney will celebrate its ninetieth anniversary and fifth year downtown, so we’ve created a program that truly honors the spirit of artistic innovation both past and present. We remain focused on supporting emerging and mid-career artists, while finding fresh relevance in historical surveys from across the twentieth century. Also turning ninety, Jasper Johns closes out the year with an unprecedented retrospective that will reveal this American legend as never before to a new generation of audiences.”

Exterior shot of the The Whitney building. Photograph by Ben Gancsos ©2016

On February 17 the Museum opens Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945, a major historical look at the transformative impact of Mexican artists on the direction of American art from the mid-1920s until the end of World War II. On October 28, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a landmark retrospective of the work of Jasper Johns goes on view simultaneously at both museums, paying tribute to the foremost living American artist. In addition, the Whitney will devote exhibitions to Julie Mehretu and Dawoud Bey, prominent midcareer artists. The Mehretu exhibition, co-organized by the Whitney with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, encompasses over two decades of the artist’s work, presenting the most comprehensive overview of her practice to date. In November, Dawoud Bey, one of the leading photographers of his generation, will receive his first full-scale retrospective, co-organized by the Whitney and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

The Whitney Museum of American Art

The Museum will also present Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist—organized by the Phoenix Art Museum—the first exhibition of work by the visionary symbolist in nearly a quarter century; and Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop, an unprecedented exhibition organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which chronicles the formative years of this collective of Black photographers who lived and worked in New York City. The year will also bring a range of focused exhibitions dedicated to emerging and midcareer artists, including Darren Bader, Jill Mulleady, Cauleen Smith, and Salman Toor, as well as Dave McKenzie and My Barbarian, who continue the Whitney’s commitment to performance and its many forms.

In September the Museum will also unveil David Hammons’s monumental public art installation Day’s End on Gansevoort Peninsula, across the street from the Whitney. The debut of this public artwork will be preceded by an exhibition entitled Around Day’s End: Downtown New York, 1970–1986, which will present a selection of works from the Museum’s collection related to the seminal work that inspired Hammons’s sculpture: Gordon Matta-Clark’s Day’s End (1975).

MAJOR EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS

Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945”, February 17–May 17, 2020

Jacob Lawrence. Panel 3 from The Migration Series, From every Southern town migrants left by the hundreds to travel north.,1940–41. Casein tempera on hardboard 12 × 18 in. (30.5 × 45.7 cm). The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; acquired 1942. © 2019 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The cultural renaissance that emerged in Mexico in 1920 at the end of that country’s revolution dramatically changed art not just in Mexico but also in the United States. With approximately 200 works by sixty American and Mexican artists, Vida Americana reorients art history, acknowledging the wide-ranging and profound influence 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. By presenting the art of the Mexican muralists alongside that of their American contemporaries, the exhibition reveals the seismic impact of Mexican art, particularly on those looking for inspiration and models beyond European modernism and the School of Paris.

Diego Rivera. The Uprising, 1931. Fresco on reinforced cement in a galvanized-steel framework, 74 × 94 1/8 in. (188 × 239 cm). Collection of Marcos and Vicky Micha Levy © 2019 Banco de México–Rivera–Kahlo/ARS. Reproduction authorized by the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL), 2019

Works by both well-known and underrecognized American artists will be exhibited, including Thomas Hart Benton, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Marion Greenwood, Philip Guston, Eitarō Ishigaki, Jacob Lawrence, Isamu Noguchi, Jackson Pollock, Ben Shahn, Thelma Johnson Streat, Charles White, and Hale Woodruff. In addition to Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros, other key Mexican artists in the exhibition include Miguel Covarrubias, María Izquierdo, Frida Kahlo, Mardonio Magaña, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, and Rufino Tamayo.

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 Barbara Haskell, curator, with Marcela Guerrero, assistant curator; Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant; and Alana Hernandez, former curatorial project assistant. (See previously-posted article here.)

Julie Mehretu, June 26–September 20, 2020

Julie Mehretu, Invisible Sun (algorithm 4, first letter form), 2014, ink and acrylic on canvas 119 1⁄2 × 167 in., private collection, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Carolina Merlano
Julie Mehretu, Black City, 2007. Ink and acrylic on canvas, 120 x 192 in. (304.8 x 487.7 cm). François Pinault Collection, Paris | Photo credit: Tim Thayer

This mid-career survey of Julie Mehretu (b. 1970; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), co-organized by The Whitney with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), covers over two decades of the artist’s career and presents the most comprehensive overview of her practice to date. Featuring approximately forty works on paper and more than thirty paintings dating from 1996 to today, the exhibition includes works ranging from her early focus on drawing and mapping to her more recent introduction of bold gestures, saturated color, and figuration. The exhibition will showcase her commitment to interrogating the histories of art, architecture, and past civilizations alongside themes of migration, revolution, climate change, and global capitalism in the contemporary moment. Julie Mehretu is on view at LACMA November 3, 2019–March 22, 2020, and following its presentation at the Whitney from June 26 through September 20, 2020, the exhibition will travel to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (October 24, 2020–January 31, 2021); and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (March 13–July 11, 2021).

Julie Mehretu, Hineni (E. 3:4), 2018, ink and acrylic on canvas, 96 × 120 in., Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle; gift of George Economou, 2019, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tom Powel Imaging
Julie Mehretu, Stadia II, 2004, ink and acrylic on canvas, 108 × 144 in., Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, gift of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn and A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund 2004.50, © Julie Mehretu, photograph courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art

Julie Mehretu is curated by Christine Y. Kim, associate curator in contemporary art at LACMA, and Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator at the Whitney.

Jasper Johns, Opens October 28, 2020

Jasper Johns (b. 1930), Three Flags, 1958. Encaustic on canvas, 30 5/8 × 45 1/2 × 4 5/8 in. (77.8 × 115.6 × 11.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Gilman Foundation, Inc., The Lauder Foundation, A. Alfred Taubman, Laura-Lee Whittier Woods, Howard Lipman, and Ed Downe in honor of the Museum’s 50th Anniversary 80.32. Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Jasper Johns (b. 1930) is arguably the most influential living American artist. Over the past sixty-five years, he has produced a radical and varied body of work marked by constant reinvention. In an unprecedented collaboration, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Whitney will stage a retrospective of Johns’s career simultaneously across the two museums, featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints, many shown publicly for the first time. Inspired by the artist’s long-standing fascination with mirroring and doubles, the two halves of the exhibition will act as reflections of one another, spotlighting themes, methods, and images that echo across the two venues. A visit to one museum or the other will provide a vivid chronological survey; a visit to both will offer an innovative and immersive exploration of the many phases, facets, and masterworks of Johns’s still-evolving career.

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