Upcoming Exhibition Brings Together 200 Works By 60 American And Mexican Artists At The Whitney Museum In February 2020

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. Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945 will explore the profound influence Mexican artists had on the direction American art would take. 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, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros—on the style, subject matter, and ideology of art in the United States made between 1925 and 1945.

The Whitney Museum’s own connection to the Mexican muralists dates back to 1924 when the Museum’s founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney presented an exhibition of the work of three Mexican artists—José Clemente Orozco, Luis Hidalgo, and Miguel Covarrubias—at the Whitney Studio Club, organized by artist Alexander Brook. It was Orozco’s first exhibition in the United States. A few years later, in 1926, Orozco also showed watercolors from his House of Tears series at the Studio Club; and the following year Juliana Force, Mrs. Whitney’s executive assistant and future director of the Whitney Museum, provided critical support for Orozco at a time when he desperately needed it by acquiring ten of his drawings. The Mexican muralists had a profound influence on many artists who were mainstays of the Studio Club, and eventually the Whitney Museum, including several American artists featured in Vida Americana, such as Thomas Hart Benton, William Gropper, Isamu Noguchi, and Ben Shahn.

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 El Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, 2019.

Curated by Barbara Haskell, with Marcela Guerrero, assistant curator; Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant; and Alana Hernandez, former curatorial project assistant, Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945 will be on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art from February 17 through May 17, 2020 and will travel to the McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, where it will be on display from June 25 through October 4, 2020. At the McNay Art Museum, the installation will be overseen by René Paul Barrilleaux.

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

Vida Americana is an enormously important undertaking for the Whitney and could not be more timely given its entwined aesthetic and political concerns,” said Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator. “It not only represents the culmination of nearly a decade of scholarly research and generous international collaboration but also demonstrates our commitment to presenting a more comprehensive and inclusive view of twentieth-century and contemporary art in the United States.”

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.

Comprised of paintings, portable frescoes, films, sculptures, prints, photographs, and drawings, as well as reproductions of in-situ murals, Vida Americana will be divided into nine thematic sections and will occupy the entirety of the Whitney’s fifth-floor Neil Bluhm Family Galleries. This unprecedented installation, and the catalogue that accompanies it, will provide the first opportunity to reconsider this cultural history, revealing the immense influence of Mexican artists on their American counterparts between 1925 and 1945.

Continue reading

Whitney Museum Announces Recent Acquisitions, Including Works Acquired From 2019 Whitney Biennial

The Whitney Museum of American Art announced that it has acquired more than 250 works of art since last April. Among these acquisitions are 88 works by 40 artists who were featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial.

John Edmonds, Tête d’Homme, 2018. Archival inkjet print. Sheet (sight): 23 5/8 × 29 9/16in. (60 × 75.1 cm) © John Edmonds. Purchase, with funds from the Henry Nias Foundation

Other recent acquisitions include works by artists who are joining the collection for the first time, including Laura Aguilar, John Ahearn, Maria Berrio, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, ektor garcia, Ajay Kurian, Wendy Red Star, Wallace & Donahue, and others.

Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator commented: “Through the Biennial and our emerging artist program, the Whitney is committed to adding new voices to our collection, but we’re also deepening our relationships with artists already represented in it, with acquisitions of works by, among others, Alex Da Corte, Simone Leigh, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, and Hank Willis Thomas. We are particularly proud that our recent gifts and purchases highlight the museum’s increased scholarship on and engagement with Latinx and Indigenous artists.”

We are thrilled to be making many important acquisitions from the 2019 Whitney Biennial and to be continuing our long-standing tradition of expanding the collection through this flagship exhibition,” noted Jane Panetta, Curator and Director of the Collection, who was also a co-curator of the 2019 Whitney Biennial. “Additionally, we are very excited to be acquiring work that will be part of our upcoming collection presentation, Making Knowing: Craft in Art, 1950–2019, featuring important examples by Shan Goshorn, Jordan Nassar and Elaine Reichek. In all instances, these new acquisitions point to the Whitney’s deep commitment to continuing to build an ambitious and inclusive collection and to the significant relationship between our exhibition program and the work we acquire.

Some highlights of works acquired from the Biennial include John Edmonds’s meticulously composed photographs which feature carefully choreographed subjects and settings to create portraits such as Tête d’Homme (2018) and The Villain (2018) that challenge the art historical canon while simultaneously interrogating and celebrating Black identity; Janiva Ellis’s canvas Uh Oh, Look Who Got Wet (2019) featuring a graphically rendered figure against the backdrop of a monumental landscape executed in brilliant colors with vivid attention to the materiality of paint; Kota Ezawa’s projected video animation National Anthem (2018) that utilizes repurposed footage of multiple NFL teams as the basis for small-scale watercolor paintings used to create this video depicting NFL players taking a knee during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in protest of police violence against unarmed Black men; Daniel Lind-Ramos’s Maria-Maria (2019), an assembled sculpture made of found materials whose haloed form, blue robes, and title suggest the Virgin Mary but also reference Hurricane Maria, the devastating 2017 storm that struck Puerto Rico; Jennifer Packer’s monumental, lush painting A Lesson in Longing (2019) featuring her signature, gestural figures and adept use of color; and Carissa Rodriguez’s high-definition video The Maid (2018) that tracks Sherrie Levine’s Newborn sculptures (1993–94) over the course of a day through various collections in homes, galleries, and museums.

The Whitney’s collection includes nearly 25,000 works created by approximately 3,500 artists during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. This focus on the contemporary, along with a deep respect for artists’ creative process and vision, has guided the Museum’s collecting ever since its founding in 1930. The collection begins with Ashcan School painting and follows the major movements of the twentieth century in America, with strengths in modernism and Social Realism, Precisionism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, Minimalism, Postminimalism, art centered on identity and politics that came to the fore in the 1980s and 1990s, and contemporary work.

(View and download PDFs of recent acquisitions.)

The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort Street between Washington and West Streets, New York City. Museum hours are: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:30 am to 6 pm; Friday from 10:30 am to 10 pm. Closed Tuesday except in July and August. Adults: $25. Full-time students, visitors 65 & over, and visitors with disabilities: $18. Visitors 18 years & under and Whitney members: FREE. Admission is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 7–10 pm. For general information, please call (212) 570-3600 or visit whitney.org.

This Just In!: David Breslin And Adrienne Edwards Will Curate The 2021 Whitney Biennial

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.

Image credit: Adrienne Edwards and David Breslin. Photograph by Bryan Derballa

Alice 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 times.”

With 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.

David 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.

Breslin 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 English.

In 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.

At 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.

For 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 Award and 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.

Scott 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.”

Whitney Commences Installation Of “Day’s End,” A Permanent Public Art Project By David Hammons, In Hudson River Park

NEW YORK, September 17, 2019—The Whitney Museum of American Art yesterday celebrated the groundbreaking of Day’s End, a permanent public art project by New York-based artist David Hammons (b. 1943). Slated for completion in the fall of 2020, the project was developed in collaboration with the Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT). The sculpture will be located in Hudson River Park along the southern edge of Gansevoort Peninsula, directly across from the Museum, within the footprint of the former Pier 52. Hammons’s Day’s End (2020) derives its inspiration and name from Gordon Matta-Clark‘s 1975 artwork in which he cut openings into the existing, abandoned Pier 52 shed transforming it into monumental sculpture.

Rendering of Day’s End by David Hammons, as seen from the Whitney Museum of American Art. Courtesy Guy Nordenson and Associates

David Hammons was born in Springfield, Illinois, in 1943. He moved to Los Angeles in 1963, attending the Chouinard Art Institute (now CalArts) and the Otis Art Institute. In 1974, he moved to New York, where he still lives and works. Hammons was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1984 and a MacArthur Fellowship in 1991. In 1990 his work was the subject of a career survey, David Hammons: Rousing the Rubble, 1969–1990, at PS1. His work is in numerous collections, including the Whitney Museum of American Art; The Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Tate Britain. His art has profoundly influenced a younger generation of artists.

An open structure—a three-dimensional drawing in space—that precisely follows the outline, dimensions, and location of the original Pier 52 structure, Hammons’s Day’s End, will be a “ghost monument” to the earlier work by Matta-Clark and allude to the history of New York’s waterfront, from the original commercial piers that stood along the Hudson River during the heyday of New York’s shipping industry to the reclaimed piers that became an important gathering place for the gay and artist communities. Open to everyone, Day’s End is designed to coexist with HRPT’s planned park at Gansevoort Peninsula and to bring visitors down to the water’s edge.

The celebration took place at sunset in the Museum’s third floor Susan and John Hess Family Gallery and Theater, overlooking the project site on the Gansevoort Peninsula. Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney, paid tribute to Hammons, an internationally acclaimed artist with longtime ties to the Museum and deep roots in New York, and thanked the project’s funders and collaborators during the evening’s remarks.

The commencement of the installation was heralded by a presentation on the Hudson River by the Fire Department of New York City’s Marine Company 9 and their fireboat the Fire Fighter II. The performance, a “water tango,” featured a display of the boat’s water cannons and served as a prelude to the premiere of a new piece by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer and bandleader Henry Threadgill (b. 1944). A sextet debuted the overture to Threadgill’s 6 to 5, 5 to 6, a two-part work commissioned by the Whitney on the occasion of Hammons’s Day’s End. The composition responds to the architectural structure and engineering schematics of the artwork. Its title is based upon the preponderance of the numbers 5 and 6, and their myriad combinations and subdivisions, found in the project’s design. The commission is overseen by Adrienne Edwards, the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance at the Whitney. The second part of the commission will premiere at the unveiling of Day’s End in fall 2020.

Henry Threadgill was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1944, and is one of only three jazz artists to ever win a Pulitzer Prize. Playing a myriad of instruments in his childhood from percussion to clarinet to saxophone, by his late teens he joined the Muhal Richard Abrams’ Experimental Band, which later expanded into the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). In 1970, Threadgill moved to New York City, exploring approaches to jazz music with various group acts over the next forty years—from AIR (Artists In Residence), his 1970s trio that reimagined ragtime without the piano, to his current band, Zooid, representing a culmination of decades of his musical process as a composer. In 2016, Threadgill was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in music for Zooid’s album In for a Penny, In for a Pound (2015). He was also the recipient of the 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award, 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award, 2008 United States Artist Fellowship, and 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship.

Weinberg also announced that the Whitney will present an exhibition, drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection, related to Matta-Clark’s seminal work that inspired Hammons’s sculpture. Titled Around Day’s End: Downtown New York, 1970–1986, and on view from July through October 2020, the exhibition is organized by Whitney assistant curator Laura Phipps and will include approximately fifteen artists, in addition to Matta-Clark, who worked in the downtown New York milieu of the 1970s and early 1980s. The work of these artists, including Alvin Baltrop, Joan Jonas, and Martin Wong, embodies ideas of artistic intervention into the urban fabric of New York City. A photographic installation by Dawoud Bey, who will also be the subject of a survey exhibition at the Whitney in the fall of 2020, captures Hammons at work on other outdoor pieces in New York.

The Whitney’s collaboration with David Hammons, one of the most influential artists of our time, represents our profound commitment to working with living artists and supporting their visions intimate or grand. The open form of the work—a building without a roof, walls, floor, doors or windows—is a welcoming metaphor that represents our commitment to community and civic good,” said Weinberg. “Just steps away from the Whitney, Day’s End celebrates the history of the Hudson River waterfront and the neighborhood and the City. We are deeply grateful for the support Day’s End has already received from New York City, as well as neighborhood, arts, historic preservation, LGBTQ, commercial and environmental groups, and we look forward to the ribbon-cutting in fall of 2020.”

“This inspiring project will celebrate the historic waterfront and perfectly align with our newly designed park on the peninsula,” said Madelyn Wils, President & CEO of the Hudson River Park Trust. “We’re incredibly appreciative of this collaboration with our neighbors at the Whitney and looking forward to seeing the project take shape at what will certainly be one of the most visually dynamic spots in all of Hudson River Park.”

In tandem with the realization of the project, the Whitney Museum is developing rich interpretive materials including the Whitney’s first podcast series, videos, neighborhood walking tours, and a children’s guide. These will take Hammons’s Day’s End (2020) and Matta-Clark’s Day’s End (1975) as jumping-off points for exploring the history of the waterfront and the Meatpacking District, the role of artists in the neighborhood, the diverse cultural and ethnic histories, its LGBTQ history, the commercial history, and the ecology of the estuary. New research, archival materials, and oral history interviews will all be incorporated. The interpretative materials will be accessible on site and online, including for mobile use.

Day’s End is developed in collaboration with HRPT and will be donated by David Hammons and the Whitney Museum to the Park upon completion. The project will rise directly south of the HRPT’s planned Gansevoort Peninsula Park, which will include a sandy beach area with kayak access and a seating area; a salt marsh with habitat enhancements; a large sports field; and on its western side, picnic tables and lounge chairs. That section of the park is slated to start construction next year and open in 2022.

The Whitney, HRPT, and Hammons are committed to ensuring that the artwork becomes an integral part of the local area and waterfront fabric—as were the working piers that preceded it. The Whitney will continue to share its plans and engage in a dialogue with the community over the coming months as the project installation continues.

Attendees at the event included New York State Senator Brad Hoylman; Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development for New York City Vicki Been; Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer; Commissioner, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl; Hudson River Park President & CEO Madelyn Wils; Whitney Trustees Jill Bikoff, Neil G. Bluhm, Nancy Carrington Crown, Gaurav Kapadia, Jonathan O. Lee, Brooke Garber Neidich, Julie Ostrover, Nancy Poses, Scott Resnick, Richard D. Segal, Fern Kaye Tessler, Thomas E. Tuft, and Fred Wilson; Whitney curators Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, Adrienne Edwards, Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, Elisabeth Sussman, and Laura Phipps; and artists Derrick Adams, Jules Allen, Dawoud Bey, Torkwase Dyson, Awol Erizku, Rachel Harrison, Maren Hassinger, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Dave McKenzie, Julie Mehretu, Sarah Michelson, Jason Moran, and Adam Pendleton.

The Whitney Museum of American Art To Present Jason Moran This September

The first solo museum show of Jason Moran (b. 1975, Houston, Texas), the interdisciplinary artist who grounds his work in music composition, will make its New York debut at the Whitney September 20, 2019. Jason Moran, which originated at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in the spring of 2018, presents the range of art Moran has explored, from his own sculptures and drawings to collaborations with visual artists to performance and video.

Jason Moran, STAGED: Slug’s Saloon

An immersive installation will fill the Whitney’s eighth floor galleries from September 20, 2019 through January 5, 2020. The exhibition will be activated by in-gallery musical performances by the artist himself and by other musicians throughout the run of the show. Two marquee events unique to the Whitney’s presentation will include the New York premiere of Kara Walker’s Katastwóf Karavan (2018), a steam-powered calliope housed in a parade wagon, and a special twentieth anniversary concert for Moran’s trio, The Bandwagon.

Jason Moran is overseen at the Whitney by Adrienne Edwards, the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance, who originated the show at the Walker.

A renowned musician and composer known for jazz styles from stride piano to free improvisation, Moran’s experimental approach to artmaking aligns objects with sound in an effort to underscore their inherent theatricality. Whether executed through the medium of sculpture, drawing, or sound, his works bridge the visual and performing arts. In all aspects, Moran’s creative process is informed by one of the essential tenets of jazz music: the “set,” in which musicians come together to engage in a collaborative process of improvisation, riffing off of one another to create the musical experience.

Jason Moran is one of the most vital and boundary-breaking creative voices of our time, and his wide-ranging collaborations with other visual and performing artists have had a profoundly generative effect on their work as well as on his own artistic development,” remarked Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator. “This exhibition extends the Whitney’s long and vibrant history of presenting artists who traverse the boundaries of the visual and performing arts and brings together so many artists who are dear to the Museum. We’re thrilled the show marks Adrienne Edwards’s curatorial debut in our galleries and also Jason’s return to the Whitney, following his appearances in Glenn Ligon: AMERICA in 2011 and our Biennial the following year.”

Jazz pianist, composer, and performance artist Jason Moran was born in Houston, Texas in 1975 and earned a degree from the Manhattan School of Music in 1997, where he studied with Jaki Byard. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2010 and has been the Artistic Director for Jazz at the Kennedy Center since 2014. Deeply invested in reassessing and complicating the relationship between music and language, Moran’s extensive efforts in composition, improvisation, and performance challenge the status quo while respecting the accomplishments of his predecessors.

It is heartening to have the national tour of Jason’s exhibition culminate in New York City, where he and so many of his collaborators live and make their work. New York is where jazz has evolved, and the venues that fostered it are referenced directly in the major sculptures that serve as stages within the show,” noted Edwards. “Presenting the exhibition at the Whitney makes for a double ‘homecoming,’ since Jason and his collaborators have long-standing histories with the Museum, having exhibited here or featuring in our collection. Taking its cue from Jason’s art and that of his collaborators, this show questions the boundaries between artistic disciplines and how they are presented. It is a solo show that is also a group show; it takes place in neither a white cube nor a black box theater or nightclub, but rather in an in-between space that is some combination of them all. It is a survey exhibition, yet holds together like a singular art installation—at times a visual art show and at other times a performance venue.

Jason Moran, which originated at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in the spring of 2018, and has traveled nationally to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Wexner Center for the Arts, considers the artist’s solo and collaborative works as generative investigations that further the fields of experimental jazz, performance, and visual art. Shown together for the first time in this exhibition, Moran’s mixed-media “set” installations STAGED: Savoy Ballroom 1 (2015), STAGED: Three Deuces (2015), and STAGED: Slugs’ Saloon (2018) pay homage to iconic jazz venues of New York’s past. Collaboration has been central to Moran’s experiments, and among the many artists with whom he has collaborated are Stan Douglas, Lizzie Fitch and Ryan Trecartin, Theaster Gates, Joan Jonas, Glenn Ligon, Julie Mehretu, Adam Pendleton, Lorna Simpson, and Carrie Mae Weems. These collaborative works are exhibited here, many in a synchronized loop arranged by Moran on projection screens. Moran’s original musical scores and a recent selection of his charcoal drawings from the ongoing Run series, which give sculptural presence to sound, are also featured in the exhibition.

STAGED

Sculptural vignettes based on storied New York City music venues, Moran’s STAGED works reimagine the architecture of these cultural landmarks and double as concert stages. STAGED: Savoy Ballroom 1 and STAGED: Three Deuces were part of Moran’s contributions to the 2015 Venice Biennale international exhibition All the World’s Future, curated by Okwui Enwezor. The latest sculpture from the series, STAGED: Slugs’ Saloon (2018), was commissioned for this exhibition by the Walker Art Center. Each is integrally connected to the social history and real politics of the venues for which they are named—important sites of invention and innovation in jazz that were also testing grounds of American policies of nondiscrimination at the height of the Jim Crow period of segregation.

The legendary Savoy Ballroom, which operated between 1926 and 1958 on Lenox Avenue in Harlem, was synonymous with the Swing Era and presented legendary big bands and performers, including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Chick Webb, and Count Basie. Moran’s STAGED: Savoy Ballroom 1 is lined with an ornate Dutch wax print fabric and features a lush curving wall and overhanging ceiling. The sculpture’s pristine veneer seems counter to the repetitive and droning prison work songs that emanate from speakers. Midtown Manhattan’s Three Deuces club, which operated on 52nd Street from the mid-1940s to 1950s, was an incubator for bebop pioneers like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Max Roach. To evoke this seminal venue with STAGED: Three Deuces, Moran uses pale vinyl padding compressed under a barely eight-foot-tall ceiling and focuses on the corner of a room to conjure the compressed dimensions of the original venue.

Similarly, STAGED: Slugs’ Saloon pays homage to the celebrated East Village jazz venue that presented music from 1964 to 1972 on East Third Street. Often referred to as a “jazz dive”, Slugs’ Saloon showcased free jazz and some of the most important avant-gardists of the era, including Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, and Sun Ra. While the original space was described as narrow and oftentimes tightly packed, Moran’s Slugs’ Saloon is open with two mirrors flanking the stage and a multitier platform with a wooden floor that holds a vintage upright piano and drum set. The lower level holds a single chair and Wurlitzer Americana II jukebox, programmed with whistling tunes and samplings of audience incantations from the Village Vanguard.

RUN

Moran’s drawings from the Run series, originally shown at Luhring Augustine in 2016 for his first gallery exhibition, offer highly gestural entrees into the artist’s process. To create the works, Moran tapes elongated pieces of paper on the keys of a piano or keyboard and caps his fingers with charcoal. The paper then catches the movements of his playing. Reminiscent of Robert Morris’s series of Blind Time drawings, the works also bring to mind David Hammons’s basketball drawings and body prints or the impromptu drawings created by Joan Jonas during live performances. Achieved through acts of repetition, the Run series reveals the usually private and deliberate process of jazz composition and the artist’s performance practice, offering viewers an intimate view of his body’s movements in relation to the piano.

COLLABORATIONS

Projects and collaborations, central to Moran’s practice, are represented in the exhibition through the presentation of the artist’s work with leading visual artists. Since 2005, Moran has completed four collaborations with pioneering video performance artist Joan Jonas, and the evolution of much of Moran’s visual work, such as his extension of performance techniques to the process of drawing in the Run series or his transposition of traditional cultural forms into contemporary art, can be tracked through his work with Jonas. Moran first collaborated with Jonas on the music for The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things, an opera performed for the first time in 2005 at Dia: Beacon, and later on Reading Dante (2007–10), Reanimation (2012), and They Come to Us without a Word II (2015). For his first foray into filmmaking, artist Glenn Ligon tapped Moran to compose the score for Death of Tom (2008), an abstract re-creation of a scene from Edwin S. Porter’s fourteen-minute silent film version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. In Stan Douglas’s six-hour, single-channel film Luanda-Kinshasa (2013) depicting a fictional jazz-funk band in a recording session sometime in the mid-1970s, Moran appears as the band leader and worked with Douglas on song sequencing for this intricately composed film.

Exclusive to the presentation of Jason Moran at the Whitney will be the temporary installation of Kara Walker’s Katastwóf Karavan (2018) outside in front of the Museum. A steam-powered calliope housed in a parade wagon featuring silhouetted scenes on all four sides in Walker’s distinctive style, Katastwóf Karavan debuted in 2018 at the Prospect.4 Triennial in New Orleans. Katastwóf Karavan takes its title from the Haitian Creole phrase for “caravan of catastrophe” and alludes to the subjugation, violence, and humiliation of life for African Americans in the Antebellum South. The work also plays songs and sounds programmed by Walker and Moran that the artists associate with the long history of African American protest music. In the Prospect.4 Triennial, Moran played the work live via keyboard for two improvised performances. Moran will present another improvised performance with the work at the Whitney in October 2019.

Moran’s recording and performing activity has included collaborations with masters of the jazz form, including Charles Lloyd, Bill Frisell, and the late Sam Rivers. His work with his acclaimed trio The Bandwagon (with drummer Nasheet Waits and bassist Tarus Mateen) has resulted in a profound discography for Blue Note Records. Moran has a long-standing collaborative practice with his wife, the mezzo-soprano and composer Alicia Hall Moran. For the 2012 Whitney Biennial, together they organized BLEED, a five-day performance gathering that featured more than ninety performers, including Rashida Bumbray, Bill Frisell, Joan Jonas, Lorraine O’Grady, Esperanza Spalding, and Kara Walker. In 2016, Moran and Hall Moran formed the indie label YES RECORDS. Releases include Moran’s critically-acclaimed live solo piano recording, The Armory Concert (2016), as well as Thanksgiving at the Vanguard (2017), and BANGS (2017). Moran, who teaches at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, has produced several film scores and soundtracks, including the scores for Ava DuVernay’s films Selma and 13th.

Moran’s work has been presented by institutions including the Walker Art Center, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Park Avenue Armory, the Dia Art Foundation, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Harlem Stage, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. His first solo museum exhibition Jason Moran premiered in Minneapolis at the Walker Art Center from April 26 through August 26, 2018 and traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston from September 19 through January 21, 2019. It was on view at the Wexner Center for the Arts through August 11, 2019 before its U.S. finale in Moran’s hometown of New York City at the Whitney.

This exhibition is accompanied by a 272-page publication, published in conjunction with the Walker Art Center’s 2018 exhibition, which considers the artist’s practice and his collaborative works as interdisciplinary investigations that further the fields of experimental jazz and visual art. Edited by Adrienne Edwards, it features an interview with the artist, and essays by Philip Bither, Okwui Enwezor, Danielle Jackson, Alicia Hall Moran, George E. Lewis, and Glenn Ligon. These texts are accompanied by a photo essay by Moran, a section documenting the creation of Moran’s STAGED sculptures, installation views from the Walker, photographs and other ephemera, and a complete list of works included in the Walker exhibition.

Jason Moran is organized by the Walker Art Center, and curated by Adrienne Edwards with Danielle A. Jackson. The Whitney’s presentation is overseen by Adrienne Edwards, the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance.

Jason Moran is sponsored by Delta. Generous support for Jason Moran is provided by The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Significant support is provided by Norman and Melissa Selby and the Joyce and George Wein Foundation.

The Whitney To Present The First Andy Warhol Retrospective Organized by a U.S. Institution Since 1989

Andy Warhol—From A To B And Back Again, The First Major Reexamination Of Warhol’s Art In A Generation, To Open At The Whitney On November 12

Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again—the first Andy Warhol retrospective organized in the U.S. since 1989, and the largest in terms of its scope of ideas and range of works—will be an occasion to experience and reconsider the work of one of the most inventive, influential, and important American artists. With more than 350 works of art, many assembled together for the first time, this landmark exhibition, organized by The Whitney Museum of American Art, will unite all aspects, media, and periods of Warhol’s forty-year career. Curated by Warhol authority Donna De Salvo, Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, with Christie Mitchell, curatorial assistant, and Mark Loiacono, curatorial research associate, the survey debuts at the Whitney on November 12, 2018, where it will run through March 31, 2019.

 

While Warhol’s Pop images of the 1960s are recognizable worldwide, what remains far less known is the work he produced in the 1970s and 80s. This exhibition positions Warhol’s career as a continuum, demonstrating that he didn’t slow down after surviving the assassination attempt that nearly took his life in 1968, but entered into a period of intense experimentation, continuing to use the techniques he’d developed early on and expanding upon his previous work. Taking the 1950s and his experience as a commercial illustrator as foundational, and including numerous masterpieces from the 1960s, Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again tracks and reappraises the later work of the 1970s and 80s through to Warhol’s untimely death in 1987.

unnamed

Andy Warhol (1928–1987), Self-Portrait, 1964. Acrylic, metallic paint, and silkscreen ink on linen, 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.6 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago; gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York

(Following its premiere at the Whitney, the exhibition will travel to two other major American art museums, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and The Art Institute of Chicago. Bank of America is the National Tour Sponsor)

Perhaps more than any artist before or since, Andy Warhol understood America’s defining twin desires for innovation and conformity, public visibility and absolute privacy,” noted De Salvo. “He transformed these contradictory impulses into a completely original art that, I believe, has profoundly influenced how we see and think about the world now. Warhol produced images that are now so familiar, it’s easy to forget just how unsettling and even shocking they were when they debuted. He pioneered the use of an industrial silkscreen process as a painterly brush to repeat images ‘identically’, creating seemingly endless variations that call the very value of our cultural icons into question. His repetitions, distortions, camouflaging, incongruous color, and recycling of his own imagery anticipated the most profound effects and issues of our current digital age when we no longer know which images to trust. From the 1950s until his death, Warhol challenged our fundamental beliefs, particularly our faith in images, even while he sought to believe in those images himself. Looking in this exhibition at the full sweep of his career makes it clear that Warhol was not just a twentieth-century titan but a seer of the twenty-first century as well.

Occupying the entirety of the Whitney’s fifth-floor Neil Bluhm Family Galleries, the adjacent Kaufman Gallery, the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Lobby Gallery, the Susan and John Hess Family Gallery and Theater, Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again will be the largest exhibition devoted to a single artist yet to be presented in the Whitney’s downtown location. Tickets will be available on the Whitney’s website beginning in August.large_68.25_warhol_resized

Through his carefully cultivated persona and willingness to experiment with non-traditional art-making techniques, Andy Warhol (1928–1987) understood the growing power of images in contemporary life and helped to expand the role of the artist in society, making him one of the most distinct and internationally recognized American artists of the twentieth century. This exhibition sets out to prove that there remains far more to Warhol and his work than is commonly known. While the majority of exhibitions, books, articles, and films devoted to Warhol’s art have focused on a single medium, subject, series, or period, Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again will employ a chronological and thematic methodology that illuminates the breadth, depth, and interconnectedness of the artist’s production: from his beginnings as a commercial illustrator in the 1950s, to his iconic Pop masterpieces of the early 1960s, to the experimental work in film and other mediums from the 1960s and 70s, to his innovative use of readymade abstraction and the painterly sublime in the 1980s. The show’s title is taken from Warhol’s 1975 book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), an aphoristic memoir in which the artist gathered his thoughts on fame, love, beauty, class, money, and other key themes.

Building on a wealth of new materials, research and scholarship that has emerged since the artist’s untimely death in 1987, as well as De Salvo’s own expertise and original research conducted by the Whitney’s curatorial team, the checklist of works has been carefully selected from amongst the thousands of paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, films, videos, and photographs that Warhol produced during his lifetime.

Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney, commented: “This exhibition takes a fresh focus, while continuing the Whitney’s decades-long engagement with Warhol’s work which we presented in 1971 in a traveling retrospective and in Andy Warhol: Portraits of the 70s, organized by the Whitney in 1979–80. Few have had the opportunity to see an in-depth presentation of his career, and account for the scale, vibrant color, and material richness of the objects themselves. This exhibition, to be presented in three cities, will allow visitors to experience the work of one of America’s greatest cultural figures firsthand, and to better comprehend Warhol’s artistic genius and fearless experimentation.”

Early Work

The exhibition covers the entirety of Warhol’s career, beginning with a concentrated focus on the commercial and private work he made between 1948 and 1960. Arriving in New York from his native Pittsburgh in the summer of 1949, Warhol began his career in an advertising world that was increasingly technological, and, concurrently, an art world obsessed with originality and the authenticity of the hand-made mark. The 1950s were a foundational period for the artist, a young gay man, beginning to find his way in the city. Though far less known than his later work, the commercial art that Warhol produced during his first decade in New York lays the groundwork for many of the themes and aesthetic devices that he would develop throughout the length of his career. Continue reading

The Whitney To Open Seven Days A Week In July And August

 

Today, The Whitney Museum of American Art announced that it will be open to the public seven days a week during the months of July and August. Ordinarily closed on Tuesdays, the Museum will be open during these summer months from 10:30 am to 6 pm Sunday through Thursday, beginning Tuesday, July 3. Extended hours on Friday and Saturday, from 10:30 am until 10 pm, continue, and Friday evenings are pay-what-you-wish from 7 to 10 pm.The Whitney logo

The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort Street between Washington and West Streets, New York City.

The Museum’s summer exhibitions include Mary Corse: A Survey in Light; Pacha, Llaqta, Wasichay: Indigenous Space, Modern Architecture, New Art; David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night; The Face in the Moon: Drawings and Prints by Louise Nevelson; Eckhaus Latta: Possessed; Between the Waters; Flash: Photographs by Harold Edgerton from the Whitney’s Collection; An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017; Christine Sun Kim: Too Much Future; and Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900–1960.

Regular museum hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 10:30 am to 6 pm; Friday and Saturday from 10:30 am to 10 pm. Closed Tuesday except in July and August. Adults: $25. Full-time students and visitors 65 & over: $18. Visitors 18 years & under and Whitney members: FREE. Admission is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 7–10 pm. For general information, please call (212) 570-3600 or visit whitney.org.