The Whitney Museum of American Art announced today that its 2021 Biennial, the 80th edition, will be co-organized by two brilliant members of the Museum’s curatorial department, David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards. The 2021 Whitney Biennial exhibition will open in the spring of 2021 and is presented by Tiffany & Co., which has been the lead sponsor of the Biennial since the Museum’s move downtown.
Pratt Brown Director Adam D. Weinberg noted: “The central
aim of the Biennial is to be a barometer of contemporary American
art. Each Biennial is a reflection of the cultural and social moment
as it intersects with the passions, perspectives, and tastes of the
curators. David and Adrienne will be a great team. They are
inquisitive, curious, and are acutely attuned to the art of the
current moment. No doubt they will bring fresh outlooks to this
historic exhibition and reinvent it for these complex and challenging
a long history of exhibiting the most promising and influential
artists and provoking debate, the Whitney Biennial is the Museum’s
signature survey of the state of contemporary art in the United
States. The Biennial, an invitational show of work produced in the
preceding two years, was introduced by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in
1932, and it is the longest continuous series of exhibitions in the
country to survey recent developments in American art.
Initiated by founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, the Whitney Biennial is the longest-running survey of American art. More than 3,600 artists have participated, including Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jacob Lawrence, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Mitchell, Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Ellsworth Kelly, Richard Serra, Lynda Benglis, Frank Bowling, Joan Jonas, Barbara Kruger, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, David Wojnarowicz, Glenn Ligon, Yvonne Rainer, Zoe Leonard, Kara Walker, Cindy Sherman, Nan Goldin, Mike Kelley, Lorna Simpson, Renée Green, Wade Guyton, Julie Mehretu, Cecilia Vicuña, Mark Bradford, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Ellen Gallagher, Rachel Harrison, Wu Tsang, Nick Mauss, Sarah Michelson, Laura Owens, Postcommodity, Pope.L, Jeffrey Gibson, and Tiona Nekkia McClodden.
The biennials were originally organized by medium, with painting alternating with sculpture and works on paper. Starting in 1937, the Museum shifted to yearly exhibitions called Annuals. The current format—a survey show of work in all media occurring every two years—has been in place since 1973. The 2019 Biennial (still on partial view on the Museum’s sixth floor until October 27) was organized by two Whitney curators, Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley. It featured seventy-five artists and collectives working in painting, sculpture, installation, film and video, photography, performance, and sound.
Breslin was recently named the DeMartini Family Curator and
Director of Curatorial Initiatives, a role he will assume this
month. Since joining the Museum in 2016 as DeMartini Family Curator
and Director of the Collection, Breslin has spearheaded the Museum’s
collection-related activities, curating a series of major collection
exhibitions and overseeing acquisitions. Working closely with his
curatorial colleagues, he has organized or co-organized four timely
and thematized collection displays, including Where We Are:
Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900–1960, An
Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s
Collection, 1940–2017, Spilling Over: Painting Color
in the 1960s, and The Whitney’s Collection:
Selections from 1900 to 1965, which is currently on view on
the Museum’s seventh floor. In 2018, he co-curated (with David
Kiehl) the landmark retrospective David Wojnarowicz:
History Keeps Me Awake at Night.
came to the Whitney from the Menil Drawing Institute, where he
created an ambitious program of exhibitions and public and scholarly
events and helped to shape the design of the Institute’s new
facility. He also oversaw work on the catalogue raisonné of the
drawings of Jasper Johns and grew the collection. Prior to the
Menil, Breslin served as the associate director of the research and
academic program and associate curator of contemporary projects at
the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA; he also oversaw
the Clark’s residential fellowship program and taught in the
Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
Breslin co-edited Art History and Emergency: Crises in the Visual
Arts and Humanities (Yale University Press, 2016), a volume that
grew from a Clark Conference he organized with art historian Darby
2018, Adrienne Edwards was named Engell Speyer Family
Curator and Curator of Performance at the Whitney. Previously,
she served as curator of Performa since 2010 and as Curator at
Large for the Walker Art Center since 2016.
the Whitney, Edwards curated Jason Moran, the artist’s first
museum show, now on view on the Museum’s eighth floor. She
originated the exhibition at the Walker in 2018; it previously
traveled to the ICA Boston and the Wexner Center for the
Arts. The exhibition features a series of performances, Jazz on a
High Floor in the Afternoon, curated by Edwards and Moran. She
organized the event commencing the construction of David
Hammons’s Day’s End, featuring a commission by composer
Henry Threadgill and a “water” tango on the Hudson
River by the Fire Department of the City of New York’s
Marine Company 9. Earlier this year, Edwards organized Moved
by the Motion: Sudden Rise, a series of performances based on
a text co-written by Wu Tsang, boychild, and Fred Moten,
which presented a collage of words, film, movements, and sounds.
Performa, Edwards realized new boundary-defying commissions,
as well as pathfinding conferences and film programs with a wide
range of over forty international artists. While at the Walker, she
co-led the institution-wide Mellon Foundation Interdisciplinary
Initiative, an effort to expand ways of commissioning, studying,
collecting, documenting, and conserving cross-disciplinary works.
Edwards’s curatorial projects have included the critically
acclaimed exhibition and catalogue Blackness in Abstraction,
hosted by Pace Gallery in 2016. She also organized Frieze’s
Artist Awardand Live program in New York in 2018. Edwards
taught art history and visual studies at New York University
and The New School, and she is a contributor to the National
Gallery of Art’s Center for the Advanced Study in Visual Art’s
forthcoming publication Black Modernisms.
Rothkopf, the Whitney’s Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve
Crown Family Chief Curator, said, “David and Adrienne truly
represent the best spirit and ideals of the Whitney. Not only are
they devoted to—and beloved by—living artists, but they bring to
the art of our time a deep historical and scholarly awareness. The
most recent editions of the Biennial have reaffirmed its vitality and
relevance, and I look forward to discovering how another pair of
Whitney curators will lend their voices to our signature exhibition.”
Now On View Through May 3, 2021 in the Art of the Americas Wing, Level 3, Exhibition Includes Works Across Media by more than 100 Women Artists
For centuries, women-identified artists have struggled to receive recognition for their accomplishments. Despite more than a century of feminist activism and great strides towards social, professional and political equality, women remain dramatically underrepresented and undervalued in the art world today. In response, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), has reinstalled the entire third floor of its Art of the Americas Wing with approximately 200 artworks made by women over the last 100 years—a “takeover” that aims to challenge the dominant history of art from 1920 to 2020 and shine a light on some of the many talented and determined women artists who deserve attention. The thematic exhibition coincides with the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, as well as the MFA’s 150th anniversary—a yearlong celebration focused on enhancing the power of art and artists, honoring the past and re-imagining the future.
Take the Floor seeks to acknowledge and remedy the
systemic gender discrimination found in museums, galleries, the
academy and the marketplace, including the MFA’s inconsistent
history in supporting women artists. The exhibition also explores art
and suffrage—emphasizing that both could give women a voice in
their community and the world. At the same time, it recognizes that
past feminist movements, including the campaign for the right to
vote, were not inclusive or immune from systemic racism. By looking
at 20th-century American art through the lens of modern-day
feminism—which advocates for equity and intersectionality (the way
an individual’s race, class, gender and other identities combine
and overlap)—MFA curators hope to broaden the stories that are told
during the yearlong commemoration of women’s suffrage in 2020.
drawn from the MFA’s collection, the works featured in Women
Take the Floor include paintings, sculpture, prints,
photographs, jewelry, textiles, ceramics and furniture. The central
gallery, dedicated to portraits of women created by women, provides a
large convening space where visitors are invited to share
perspectives and participate in a wide range of programs scheduled to
take place throughout the run of the exhibition. Women Take the
Floor is on view through May 3, 2021. Sponsored by
Bank of America. Generously supported by the Carl and Ruth
Shapiro Family Foundation. Additional support from the Jean S.
and Frederic A. Sharf Exhibition Fund, and the Eugenie
Prendergast Memorial Fund.
goals are to celebrate the strength and diversity of work by women
artists while also shining a light on the ongoing struggle that many
continue to face today. We see these efforts of recognition and
empowerment to mark a first step to redress the systematic
discrimination against women at the MFA, and within the art world,”
said Nonie Gadsden, Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American
Decorative Arts and Sculpture, who led a cross-departmental team of
curators in organizing Women Take the Floor.
coordinated a cross-departmental curatorial team for the exhibition,
including Reto Thüring, Beal Family Chair, Department of
Contemporary Art; Erica Hirshler, Croll Senior Curator of
American Paintings; Lauren Whitley, Senior Curator of Textiles
and Fashion Arts; Patrick Murphy, Lia and William Poorvu
Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings and Supervisor, Morse Study
Room; Karen Haas, Lane Senior Curator of Photographs; and
former MFA Curatorial Research Associates Caroline Kipp,
Emelie Gevalt and Zoë Samels.
ensure the exhibition represented a broad range of perspectives, the
MFA convened a roundtable discussion with local women community
leaders to inform interpretation and give feedback on the project,
particularly on the Women Depicting Women
gallery. As a result, outside voices are a key feature of
the central space, and informed interpretation throughout the
exhibition. Porsha Olayiwola, the current poet laureate for
the city of Boston, will write a new poem and perform it on video,
and the local feminist collective The
Cauldron has identified quotes from feminist voices, which
will be featured in the entry space.
core space of the exhibition focuses on Women
Depicting Women: Her Vision, Her Voice.
The works on view range across time and place, as well as social,
political and cultural contexts, yet all represent a highly
individual interpretation of female portraiture. Highlights
throughout the run of the exhibition will include celebrated
paintings by Frida Kahlo, Alice Neel and Loïs Mailou
Jones; photographs by Andrea Bowers, Maria Magdalena
Campos-Pons, Laura McPhee and Cindy Sherman; and the
recently acquired portrait of feminist activist Rosemary Mayer
by Sylvia Sleigh.
the decades following the campaign for women’s suffrage, a greater
number of women successfully pursued careers as professional artists
and designers. Yet the road was not easy—nor was it open to all.
Women on the Move: Art and Design in the
1920s and 30s in the John Axelrod Gallery considers
the contributions of pioneering artists like painters Georgia
O’Keeffe and Loïs Mailou Jones and ceramicists Maria
Martinez (San Ildefonso Pueblo) and Maija Grotell. At the
same time, the gallery highlights works by important women artists
who have garnered less recognition, including sculptor Meta
Warrick Fuller, painter Helen Torr and potter Nampeyo
Man’s Land, on view in the Melvin Blake
and Frank Purnell Gallery, is devoted to six artists who have
each reimagined the representation of landscape, creating personal
interpretations of the world around them. Working across decades,
geographies and media, Luchita Hurtado, Doris Lindo Lewis, Loren
MacIver, Georgia O’Keeffe, Beverly Pepper and Kay Sage
explored the metaphoric possibilities of both real and imagined
landscapes, often through the use of symbols that allude to female
Presented in the Saundra B. and William H. Lane Galleries, Beyond the Loom: Fiber as Sculpture highlights pioneering artists who radically redefined textiles as modern art in the 1960s and 1970s: Anni Albers, Olga de Amaral, Ruth Asawa, Sheila Hicks, Kay Sekimachi and Lenore Tawney. Co-opting a medium traditionally associated with women’s work and domesticity, they boldly broke free from the constraints of the loom to create large-scale, sculptural weavings that engaged with contemporary art movements such as Minimalism. A second rotation in the same space, Subversive Threads, will open late spring 2020, focusing on contemporary artists who have used textiles to challenge notions of identity, gender and politics.
of Action, on view in the Saundra B. and William H.
Lane Galleries, builds on recent scholarship and recognizes the
contributions of Joan Mitchell, Grace Hartigan, Helen
Frankenthaler, Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner and ceramicist
Toshiko Takaezu to the formation and expansion of action
painting in the mid-20th century, a movement typically credited to
their male counterparts.
Publish Women: The Print Boom celebrates three
entrepreneurs who founded printmaking workshops in the late 1950s and
1960s and played an underappreciated role in the revitalization of
American printmaking: Tatyana Grosman of Universal Limited
Art Editions (New York), June Wayne of Tamarind
Lithography (Los Angeles) and Kathan Brown of Crown
Point Press (San Francisco). These will be presented in two
rotations in the Robert and Jane Burke Gallery. The third
rotation, Personal to Political: Women Photographers,
1965–1985, will feature work by more than 35 photographers
active during these pivotal decades when women were making major
inroads into the fields of photojournalism, fashion, social
documentary and fine art photography.
and Abstraction at Midcentury takes an expansive look at
abstraction, exploring how women artists reshaped the natural world
for expressive purposes in a wide range of media including paintings,
prints, textiles, ceramics, furniture and jewelry. Among the artists
featured in this space are painters Carmen Herrera, Esphyr
Slobodkina and Maud Morgan; designers Greta
Magnusson-Grossman and Olga Lee; and Clare Falkenstein,
Laura Andreson, Margaret de Patta and others who contributed
to the development of the studio craft movement.
exhibition will also include a space for reflection and feedback. In
addition to a video of Olayiwola performing her newly
commissioned poem, a curated bookshelf—including texts on
feminist history and women artists—and a seating area will be
available for visitors. Additionally, curators will select responses
left by the public in an open feedback area to add to the in-gallery
interpretation in Women Depicting Women—creating a
dynamic “living label” that will grow throughout the
installation’s 18-month run.
selection of speeches will be available in conjunction with Amalia
Pica’s Now Speak! (2011)—a cast concrete
lectern that encourages visitors to make spontaneous declarations or
deliver a performance of a historical speech. The texts were chosen
by C. Payal Sharma, an independent racial equity and justice
consultant based in Boston. A “living artwork,” Now Speak!
will also serve as the centerpiece of various public programs taking
place in the gallery.
programming in the space will include a Creative Residency
with ImprovBoston in October, as well as Artist
Demonstrations with painter Joann Rothschild (September
15), weaver Nathalie Miebach (October 13 and 16) and
printmaker Carolyn Muskat (November 10 and 13). On October
9, violinist Ceren Turkmenoglu will perform a program of
works by Ottoman-Turkish women composers of Turkish classical music,
spanning form past to recent times. Public tours of the exhibition
include an hour-long “Curated Conversation” with exhibition
curator Nonie Gadsden on September 29, and 15-minute Spotlight
Talks on October 9.
Women Take the Floor, the MFA is participating in the
Feminist Art Coalition (FAC), working collectively with
various art museums and nonprofit institutions across the U.S. to
present a series of concurrent events in the fall of 2020—during
the run-up to the next presidential election—that take feminist
thought and practice as their point of departure. Fellow participants
include Art21; CCA Wattis Institute of Contemporary Art;
Center for Curatorial Studies, Hessel Museum of Art,
Bard College; The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and
Performing Arts Center (EMPAC), RPI; Fine Arts Museums
of San Francisco; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; MIT
List Visual Arts Center; The Renaissance Society, Art
Institute of Chicago; UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film
Archive (BAMPFA); and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
of the Americas at the MFA
the Museum’s founding in 1870, it has been committed to collecting
art of North, Central and South America from all time periods. Its
diverse holdings rank among the most significant in the nation and
feature masterpieces ranging from gold of the Ancient Americas, Maya
ceramics, and Native American (prehistoric to contemporary) objects,
to one of the finest collections of art of the United States from
colonial through modern times. Additionally, the MFA’s Art
the Americas collection contains more than 13,000 examples
of American decorative arts (furniture, silver, ceramics, glass and
metalwork) and sculpture made across the Americas from the 17th
century to the present––embracing masterworks of artisan and
artist alike. More than 5,000 objects from the Museum’s collection
of works from the Americas are on view in the 49 galleries of the Art
of the Americas Wing, as well as in the Sargent
Rotunda and Colonnade.
Also displayed in these galleries are works from the Americas drawn
from the Museum’s Prints and Drawings;
Photography; Textile and Fashion Arts; and Musical Instruments
May 1-11 Online Sale | May 8, 9 & 10 Saleroom Auctions
First look at complete collection of more than 1,000 items of decorative art and 550 works of fine art:
Two evening sales of European, American and Latin American masterpieces
Online sales of Fine and Decorative Arts across eight collecting themes
All estate proceeds to benefit philanthropy
Public highlights exhibitions continue around the globe
Los Angeles April 6 –12
Beijing April 6 – 7
Shanghai April 10 –11
New York April 28 – May 8
Christie’s announces final details of the most anticipated art world event of the spring season: the sale of the magnificentCollection of Peggy and David Rockefeller. All of the estate proceeds will be directed to a dozen philanthropies Peggy and David Rockefeller supported during their lifetimes, for the benefit of continuing scientific research, higher education, support for the arts, sustainable economic development, and land conservation initiatives, among others.
New confirmed details include the complete schedule of live and online sales, illustrated catalogs available online, remaining US and Asia highlights tours and locations, and ticket information to attend the special extended public exhibition of the Collection at Rockefeller Center in New York from April 28 – May 8. The global tour and exhibitions are presented in partnership with VistaJet. In total, the Collection is expected to realize in excess of $500 million.Before now, the most valuable collection ever previously offered at auction was the Collection of Yves Saint Laurent et Pierre Bergéin 2009 at Christie’s Paris, which achieved more than US$400 million.
The Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller comprises approximately 1,550 auction lots, including one of the largest and most important collections of decorative arts to come to market in decades. Christie’s will offer 900 lots via live saleroom auctions at its Rockefeller Center site on May 8, 9 and 10. A companion online sale – which opens for bidding worldwide on May 1– will feature an additional 650 lots organized across eight collecting themes, with estimates ranging from $100 to $10,000. Through this unique integration of sale channels, Christie’s brings traditional decorative arts to the forefront, leveraging a sophisticated digital marketing approach and ‘guest-stylist’ partnerships with top tastemakers, interior designers, and social media influencers.
Marc Porter, Christie’s Chairman, Americasstated: “This rich and diverse collection of fine and decorative art is unified by Peggy and David Rockefeller’s love of beauty and their unerring eye for exceptional quality and craftsmanship in design. The size and scope of this great collection has inspired us to innovate new approaches to our traditional sale model and leverage our world-class online sale platform as only Christie’s can. The result is a dynamic week of saleroom auctions, including not one but two Evening Sales of masterworks from European, American and Latin American artists and a stellar offering of Decorative Arts across a range of categories. Our online sale, which is organized along the themes and motifs that resonated most with Peggy and David Rockefeller, brings this Collection to life in a fresh and exciting way, and is designed to make it both easy and enjoyable for collectors from all around the world to participate in this singular philanthropic event.”
Following the main auction week, Christie’s will offer a selection of 19 lots of jewelry from the family collection as a highlight of its Magnificent Jewels sale in New York on June 12. The jewelry will be exhibited as part of the extended exhibition in New York and the highlights tour to Los Angeles.
In keeping with Peggy and David Rockefeller’s wishes, Estate proceeds from the Collection sales at Christie’s will be directed to the following philanthropies, which the Rockefellers supported throughout their lifetimes: American Farmland Trust, Americas Society/Council of the Americas, Council on Foreign Relations, the David Rockefeller Fund, Harvard University, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Mount Desert Land and Garden Preserve, the Museum of Modern Art, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rockefeller University, and The Stone Barns Restoration Corporation – Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, among others.
LOS ANGELES TOUR
West Coast collectors and jewelry enthusiasts will get a first look at the Collection highlights between April 6 and 12 when Christie’s brings a selection of masterpieces and Rockefeller family jewels to its flagship West Coast gallery in Beverly Hills. The touring exhibition was curated with the tastes and interests of Christie’s clients in mind, with rare works by American artists Georgia O’Keeffe, Edward Hopper, and Willem de Kooning exhibited alongside masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Paul Gauguin. In addition, Christie’s LA will unveil Diego Rivera’s rarely-exhibited large-scale masterwork, The Rivals, painted in 1931 aboard the ship carrying Rivera and Frida Kahlo to New York. A collection of jewelry owned by Peggy Rockefeller will be included in the Los Angeles previews, featuring signed pieces by Van Cleef & Arpels, Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., and Raymond Yard, among others.
Porter further added: “This rich and diverse collection of fine and decorative art is unified by Peggy and David Rockefeller’s love of beauty and their unerring eye for exceptional quality and craftsmanship in design. The size and scope of this great collection have inspired us to innovate new approaches to our traditional sale model and leverage our world-class online sale platform as only Christie’s can. The result is a dynamic week of saleroom auctions, including not one but two Evening Sales of masterworks from European, American and Latin American artists and a stellar offering of Decorative Arts across a range of categories. Our online sale, which is organized along the themes and motifs that resonated most with Peggy and David Rockefeller, brings this Collection to life in a fresh and exciting way,and is designed to make it both easy and enjoyable for collectors from all around the world to participate in this singular philanthropic event.”Continue reading →
The Exhibition Explores The Creative Responses Of American Artists To The Rapid Pace Of Change During The Early Twentieth Century And The New Visual Language That Emerged.
From the Lake No. 3, 1924, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe for the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1987-70-2.
This spring, the Philadelphia Museum of Artwill present an exhibition exploring the creative responses of American artists to the rapid pace of change that occurred in this country during the early decades of the twentieth century. Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950 (April 18—September 3, 2018, Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor) examines the new and dynamic visual language that emerged during this period and had a dramatic impact on painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, architecture and the decorative arts.
These developments were shaped by the dizzying transformations then occurring in every aspect of life, from the advent of the automobile and moving pictures to the rapid growth of American cities and the wrenching economic change brought on by the advent of the Great Depression after a decade of unprecedented prosperity. The exhibition will feature important works by those artists—Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, and John Marin, among them—championed by the great photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, as well as many other notable figures of this period. Modern Times will be drawn almost entirely from the Museum’s renowned collection, especially the gift from the Stieglitz Collection that it received in the late 1940s, and will contain some 160 works, several of which will be on view for the first time.
Sixth Avenue and Thirtieth Street, 1907, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 32 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Meyer P. Potamkin and Vivian O. Potamkin, 2000. 1964-116-5. The White Way, c. 1926, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 32 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Cyrus McCormick, 1946-10-2.
A.D. 1914, 1914, by May Ray, American, 1890 – 1976. Oil on canvas, 36 7/8 x 69 3/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1944-90-1.
Timothy Rub, the Museum’s George D. Widener Director, and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “America’s embrace of modern life—its perils as well as its promise—in the early twentieth century was expressed most clearly in the arts. The work of this period still feels fresh and of the moment. This exhibition provides us with a welcome opportunity to reassess the Museum’s exceptionally rich holdings of modern American art and how we may display them to full advantage in the future when the Museum completes its expansion under its Master Plan. It also holds the promise of many surprises and discoveries for our visitors.”
Chinese Music, 1923, by Arthur Dove, American, 1880 -1946. Oil and metallic paint on panel, 21 11/16 x 18 1/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-2.
Painting No. 4 (A Black Horse), 1915, by Marsden Hartley, American, 1877 -1943. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 31 5/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-8
Pertaining to Yachts and Yachting, 1922, by Charles Sheeler, American, 1883 – 1965. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 1/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Margaretta S. Hinchman, 1955-96-9.
While the Museum has presented a number of exhibitions devoted to this subject over the years, Modern Timesis the largest and most comprehensive since it presented the collection of Alfred Stieglitz in 1944. The exhibition opens with the achievements of some of the leading figures of “The Eight,” including John Sloan and George Bellows, who recorded the changing urban scene with a gritty realism as horse carts gave way to motor vehicles on city streets.
Portrait of James Baldwin, 1945, by Beauford Delaney, American (active Paris), 1901 – 1979. Oil on canvas, 22 x 18 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: 125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by The Daniel W. Dietrich Foundation in memory of Joseph C. Bailey and with a grant from The Judith Rothschild Foundation, 1998-3-1
Portrait of John with Hat, 1935, by Alice Neel, American, 1900 – 1984. Oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the estate of Arthur M. Bullowa, 1993-119-2.
PSFS Building, Philadelphia, c.1932 – 1933, by Lloyd Ullberg, American, 1904-1996. Gelatin silver print, image and sheet:10 x 7 3/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund, 1999-121-3.
The exhibition emphasizes those artists—among them Charles Demuth, Morton Schamberg, Charles Sheeler, Benton Spruance, and Paul Strand—who responded to the Armory Show of 1913 and the influence of the European avant-garde by seeking to give modernism an authentic American voice. Offering a broader perspective on American art of this period, the exhibition explores the achievements of important African American figures, such as Aaron Douglas, William Edmondson, Horace Pippin and Dox Thrash. It also looks at cross-currents within the arts, including contemporary fashion and design, and work by female artists such as O’Keeffe, Florine Stettheimer, Frances Simpson Stevens, Kay Sage, and Dorothea Tanning.Continue reading →
Public Programs Explore Contemporary Cultural Connections and Role of Art in Healing Wounds of War, October 6, 2017–January 21, 2018
World War I and American Art was organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
World War I and American Art, the first major exhibition to examine how American artists reacted to the First World War, opens at Nashville’s Frist Center for the Visual Arts on October 6, 2017. Works by more than seventy artists, including George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, Childe Hassam, Georgia O’Keeffe, Horace Pippin, and John Singer Sargent, represent a pivotal chapter in the history of American art that has until now been overlooked and underestimated.
James Montgomery Flagg (1877–1960). I Want YOU for U.S. Army, Nearest Recruiting Station, 1917. Poster, 40 x 29 1/2 in. Collection of Walton Rawls. Photo: The Library Company of Philadelphia
Timed to coincide with the centennial of the entry of the U.S. into the war, this ambitious exhibition organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), Philadelphia, revisits a critical period in history through a wide variety of artistic responses, ranging from patriotic to dissenting. Garnering acclaim from outlets such as Forbes, The New York Times, and PBS NewsHour, the exhibition and its central themes of how artists respond to geopolitical turmoil is strikingly relevant today. American artists were vital to the culture of the war and the shaping of public opinion in several ways. Some developed propaganda posters promoting U.S. involvement, while others made daring anti-war drawings, paintings, and prints. Some worked as official war artists embedded with troops and others designed camouflage or took surveillance photographs.
James Montgomery Flagg (1877–1960). I Want YOU for U.S. Army, Nearest Recruiting Station, 1917. Poster, 40 x 29 1/2 in. Collection of Walton Rawls. Photo: The Library Company of Philadelphia
The exhibition features many high-profile loans from both private and public collections, including most importantly Sargent’s monumental tableau Gassed (Imperial War Museums, London), which has been seen in the U.S. only once before (in 1999).
“Working as an official war artist for the British government, Sargent witnessed the aftermath of a German mustard gas attack on British soldiers. He represented the harrowing scene on an epic canvas measuring about 7½ x 20 feet,” says Frist Center curator Trinita Kennedy. “Our presentation of the painting and the exhibition as a whole will be enriched by a lecture on opening day entitled ‘Mr. Sargent Goes to War’ by Richard Ormond, the artist’s great-nephew and a renowned scholar based in London.”
Claggett Wilson (1887–1952). Front Line Stuff, ca. 1919. Watercolor, pencil, and varnish on paperboard, 18 3/4 x 22 7/8 in. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Alice H. Rossin, 1981.163.11. Photo: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC/Art Resource, NY
The organization of the exhibition mirrors the historical unfolding of the war itself. It begins by showing how American artists interpreted the threat of war while the U.S. remained neutral between 1914 and 1917, the debate to enter it, and then how the conflict involved them directly as soldiers, relief workers, political dissenters, and official artists. The spectrum of political points of view and purpose can be seen through the juxtaposition of works. Hassam’s flag paintings are impressionist and patriotic, while Hartley’s tribute paintings to his slain friend and possible lover, a German military officer, are abstract and mournful. Bellows, at first an opponent of the war, later encouraged US involvement by vilifying German war crimes with macabre detail. O’Keeffe’s more personal work reflected her conflicted feelings about her younger brother’s enlistment.
Marsden Hartley (1877–1943). Portrait, ca. 1914–15. Oil on canvas, 32 1/4 x 21 1/2 in. Lent by the Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, Bequest of Hudson D. Walker from the Ione and Hudson D. Walker Collection, 1978.21.234
George Bellows (1882–1925). The Return of the Useless, 1918. Oil on canvas, 59 x 66 in. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2009.6. Photo: Douglas Dalton. Reproduced with permission of The Bellows Trust
A group of patriotic artists came together to form the government’s first art agency in the service of war: the Division of Pictorial Publicity. On display will be iconic recruitment posters created by Laura Brey, Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, and others that promoted enlistment with stirring imagery and language. There are also posters aimed at mobilizing women on the homefront, encouraging them to enter the workforce to support the war effort. As part of the Frist Center’s presentation, an education gallery with interactive electronic stations will allow visitors to explore such ideologically motivated works of art.Continue reading →
Drawn entirely from the Museum’s holdings, Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection features 230 works made from 1903 to 2016 by an extraordinary range of some 170 artists, more than half of whom are living. The works included in this exhibition propose diverse and often unconventional ways of representing an individual. Many artists reconsider the pursuit of external likeness—portraiture’s usual objective—within formal or conceptual explorations or reject it altogether. Through their varied takes on the portrait, the artists in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection demonstrate the vitality of this enduring genre, which serves as a compelling lens through which to view some of the most important social and artistic developments of the past century.
Floor Six of the exhibition predominantly focuses on art since 1960, while Floor Seven includes works from the first half of the twentieth century alongside more contemporary offerings.
Over the past two months, 142 new works have been installed in the exhibition, allowing the inclusion of many artists not on view when the first phase of the show debuted last spring. Organized in eleven thematic sections on two floors of the Museum, with works in all media installed side by side, the exhibition is considerably transformed from its initial installation and will remain on view through February 12, 2017.
Artists newly added to the exhibition include Cory Arcangel, Anne Collier, Grace Hartigan, Josh Kline, Kerry James Marshall, Shirin Neshat, Martha Rosler, Alison Saar, Lucas Samaras, Collier Schorr, John Sonsini, and Jonas Wood, while other artists, including Jasper Johns, Catherine Opie, Charles Ray, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol are represented by different works than before. Many iconic works from the collection by such artists as Alexander Calder, Arshile Gorky, Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, Alice Neel, and Georgia O’Keeffe, remain on view. (See complete list of included artists on whitney.org.)
Human Interest is curated by Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, and Dana Miller, former Richard DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Permanent Collection, with Mia Curran, former curatorial assistant; Jennie Goldstein, assistant curator; and Sasha Nicholas, consulting curator.
Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection Complete The Reinstallation Of The Whitney’s Collection In Its New Building
The Selfie, often seen as the height of narcissism in what is essentially an increasingly narcissistic world, is the modern version of what has long been a celebrated art form throughout history: The Portrait. Portraits are one of the richest veins of the Whitney’s collection, thanks to the Museum’s longstanding commitment to the figurative tradition, championed by its founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.
The mysterious power and fascination of the portrait—and the ingenious ways in which artists have been expanding the definition of portraiture over the past 100 years—are celebrated in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection, to be presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art this spring. The works included in this exhibition propose diverse and often unconventional ways of representing an individual. Many artists reconsider the pursuit of external likeness—portraiture’s usual objective—within formal or conceptual explorations or reject it altogether. Some revel in the genre’s glamour and allure, while others critique its elitist associations and instead call attention to the banal or even the grotesque.
Drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection, the exhibition features more than 300 works made from 1900 to 2016 by an extraordinary range of more than 200 artists, roughly half of whom are living. The show will be organized in twelve thematic sections on two floors of the Museum, with works in all media installed side by side. Floor Six, predominantly focused on art since 1960, opens first, on April 6; Floor Seven, which includes works from the first half of the twentieth century alongside more contemporary offerings, will open on April 27. The exhibition will remain on view through February 12, 2017.
Once a rarified luxury good, portraits are now ubiquitous. Readily reproducible and ever-more accessible, photography has played a particularly vital role in the democratization of portraiture, and will be strongly represented in the exhibition. Most recently, the proliferation of smartphones and the rise of social media have unleashed an unprecedented stream of portraits in the form of selfies and other online posts. Many contemporary artists confront this situation, stressing the fluidity of identity in a world where technology and the mass-media are omnipresent. Through their varied takes on the portrait, the artists in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection demonstrate the vitality of this enduring genre, which serves as a compelling lens through which to view some of the most important social and artistic developments of the past century.
Barkley L. Hendricks (b. 1945). Steve, (1976). Oil, acrylic, and Magna on linen canvas, 72 × 48in. (182.9 × 121.9 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase and gift with funds from the Arthur M. Bullowa Bequest by exchange, the Jack E. Chachkes Endowed Purchase Fund, and the Wilfred P. and Rose J. Cohen Purchase Fund 2015.101. Image Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY.
Many iconic works from the collection will be included by such artists as Alexander Calder, Marsden Hartley, Edward Hopper, Jasper Johns, Alice Neel, Georgia O’Keeffe, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol. In addition, a number of major new acquisitions will be exhibited at the Whitney for the first time, including Barkley L. Hendricks’s full-length 1976 portrait, Steve; Urs Fischer’s 2015 towering candle sculpture of Julian Schnabel (making its debut); Joan Semmel’s painting of two nude lovers, Touch (1977); Henry Taylor’s depiction of Black Panther leader Huey Newton (2007); Deana Lawson’s striking color photograph The Garden (2015); and Rosalyn Drexler’s Pop masterwork Marilyn Pursued by Death (1963). The exhibition will extend to the Museum’s outdoor galleries on Floors Seven and Six, the latter of which will feature Paul McCarthy’s monumental bronze sculpture White Snow #3 (2012), also a new acquisition.
Following is a selection of several of the sections in which the exhibition will be divided:
On the seventh floor, the section “Portrait of the Artist” brings together self-portraits with portraits of artists and other members of the creative community, a moving window into the way artists see themselves and their relationships with one another. On view will be Edward Hopper’s iconic self-portrait in oil in a brown hat, as well as a pair of drawings by Hopper and Guy Pène du Bois, each depicting the other and made during a single sitting. Other works depict artists with the tools of their trade—Ilse Bing is seen in a photograph holding the shutter release of her camera; Mabel Dwight uses a mirror as an aid in drawing herself; Andreas Feininger photographs himself regarding a strip of film through a magnifying glass. Other works in this section include Cy Twombly photographed by Robert Rauschenberg; Jasper Johns by Richard Avedon; Georgia O’Keeffe drawn by Peggy Bacon; Edgard Varèse sculpted in wire by Alexander Calder; Langston Hughes photographed by Roy DeCarava; Berenice Abbott by Walker Evans; Yasuo Kuniyoshi by Arnold Newman; and a double portrait of Joseph Stella and Marcel Duchamp taken by Man Ray.
In the early decades of the twentieth century, a spectrum of new, popular leisure pursuits—vaudeville, theater, cabaret, sporting events, and above all, motion pictures—thrust performers and entertainers into the public eye as never before. For the crowds that flocked to see them, the stars of these entertainments became larger-than-life figures, and an array of media outlets, from tabloid newspapers to glossy magazines to radio, sprang up to broadcast their exploits to captivated audiences across the nation. Artists eagerly delved into these new phenomena, creating portraits that stoked the public’s growing fascination with celebrities. At the turn of the century, painters such as Howard Cushing and Everett Shinn investigated the changing terms of fame and glamour as flashy public spectacles eclipsed Gilded Age refinement. Following World War I many artists joined in the commercial opportunities offered by the booming entertainment industry—particularly photographers, whose easily reproducible images carried a special air of authenticity. Foremost among them, Edward Steichen pioneered the aesthetic of the “closeup” in his stylish magazine portraits of movie stars and other luminaries, such as Marlene Dietrich, Dolores Del Rio, and Paul Robeson. Other photographers such as James Van Der Zee, Toyo Miyatake, and Carl Van Vechten called attention to vanguard performers whose race or ethnicity placed them outside the mainstream, challenging the sanitized imperatives of popular culture.
Under the rubric of “Street Life” the exhibition presents artists who took to the pavement with their cameras, photographing subjects as they encountered them, sometimes surreptitiously. These images, which often capture fleeting, serendipitous moments, present a counterpoint to the premeditated, sedentary sitter of historical portraits. At the turn of the last century it became clear that the camera could become an apparatus for the indictment of a society’s ills and a group of socially aware photographers became activists in addition to observers of the urban environment. An early work in the exhibition, Lewis Hine’s Newsies at Skeeters Branch, St. Louis, Missouri (c. 1910), exemplifies this type of politically motivated street photography. Other works documenting the spectacle of urban life include Walker Evans’s subway photographs; Helen Levitt’s images taken on the streets of Yorktown and Spanish Harlem; and examples from Garry Winogrand’s Women Are Beautiful portfolio. Artists featured in this section also include Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, and Nan Goldin. The tradition of street photography is carried through to more recent works by Dawoud Bey and Philip-Lorca di Corcia.
PORTRAITS WITHOUT PEOPLE
Is likeness essential to portraiture? The works in this section, spanning the past one hundred years, ask this question as they pursue alternate means for capturing an individual’s personality, values, and experiences. Often, the presence of the individual or his or her character is implied through objects and symbols that resonate with hidden meaning. Gerald Murphy’s Cocktail (1927), a bold, Jazz Age still life suggests a uniquely autobiographical approach: the accoutrements of a typical 1920s bar tray were based on Murphy’s memory of his father’s bar accessories and the cigar box cover shows a robed woman surrounded by items that allude to Murphy himself, including a boat (he was an avid sailor) and an artist’s palette. Marsden Hartley’s Painting, Number 5 (1914–15), a portrait of Karl von Freyburg, uses German imperial military regalia to stand in for the presence of the officer with whom the artist had fallen in love. In Summer Days (1936), Georgia O’Keeffe adopted the animal skull and vibrant desert wildflowers as surrogates for herself, symbols of the cycles of life and death that shape the desert world she made her home. Jasper Johns’s portrait of a Savarin coffee can full of brushes stands for Johns himself; and James Welling’s portrait of Philip Johnson’s Glass House in New Canaan, CT, may be viewed as a sort of portrait of the famous architect. In a number of works in this section, body parts or personal possessions may allude to the subject, such as Jay DeFeo’s teeth; Alfred Stieglitz’s hat; and Ed Ruscha’s shoes. Forgoing likeness in favor of allusion and enigma, these artists expand the possibilities of the portrait, while also acknowledging that the quest to depict others—and even ourselves—is elusive. Continue reading →