Art News: Whitney Announces 2017 Biennial Film Program

A Broad Range Of Moving Image Artists To Be Shown In The 2017 Biennial’s Film Program

A series of film screenings and conversations will be presented as part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial, opening at the Whitney Museum of American Art on March 17. The series takes place over ten consecutive weekends, from March 17 through May 21, 2017, in the Susan and John Hess Family Theater on the Museum’s third floor. Each Sunday, the 3 pm screening will be followed by a conversation with the filmmakers, joined by writers, curators, and scholars.

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Leslie Thornton (b. 1951) and James Richards (b. 1983), still from Crossing, 2016. High-definition video, color, sound; 19:10 min. Courtesy the artists

Film program co-curator and Biennial advisor Aily Nash notes: “At once radical and quiet, global and intimate, the works presented in the 2017 Whitney Biennial film program continue to reflect on the urgent themes seen in the exhibition. These artists are some of the most exciting voices working in moving image today. They engage the medium with formal rigor and innovation while exploring the subjective and affective experiences of the contemporary political and social moment. The broad range of artists spans generations and approaches to the moving image including documentary practice, experimental film, narrative cinema, and video installation.”

Featured artists are Basma Alsharif, Eric Baudelaire, Robert Beavers, Mary Helena Clark, Kevin Jerome Everson, Sky Hopinka, Dani Leventhal, Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, Cauleen Smith, Leslie Thornton and James Richards, Leilah Weinraub, and James N. Kienitz Wilkins. See a complete schedule at whitney.org.

The formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society are among the key themes reflected in the work of the artists selected for the 2017 Whitney Biennial. The exhibition includes sixty-three participants, ranging from emerging to well-established individuals and collectives working in painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, film and video, photography, activism, performance, music, and video game design.16_biennial_gif_web_2340px_fullstart_2340

With a history of exhibiting the most promising and influential artists and provoking debate, the Whitney Biennial—the Museum’s signature exhibition—is the longest running survey 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.

The 2017 Whitney Biennial will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue, designed by Olga Casellas Badillo of San Juan–based Tiguere Corp., which includes essays by the curators as well as Biennial advisors Negar Azimi and Gean Moreno, a conversation between the curators and Scott Rothkopf, and a roundtable with filmmakers moderated by Aily Nash. The book will also feature individual entries on each of the sixty-three participants in the exhibition along with reproductions of their work. It will be published by the Whitney Museum of American Art and distributed by Yale University Press.The Whitney Logo

The 2017 Whitney Biennial is co-curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks Continue reading

The Whitney To Present Mid-Career Survey Of The Work Of Laura Owens

In November 2017, the Whitney Museum of American Art will open the most comprehensive survey to-date of the work of Los Angeles–based painter Laura Owens (b. 1970), one of the foremost artists of her generation. Organized by Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, in close collaboration with the artist, this exhibition will be the first mid-career survey in the Whitney’s new downtown home. It will run from mid-November 2017 through early February 2018. Major support is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation.

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Laura Owens, Untitled, 2014. Ink, silkscreen ink, vinyl paint, acrylic, oil, pastel, paper, wood, solvent transfers, stickers, handmade paper, thread, board, and glue on linen and polyester, five parts: 138 1/8 × 106 ½ x 2 5/8 in. (350.8 × 270.5 × 6.7 cm) overall. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from Jonathan Sobel 2014.281a-e. © Laura Owens

For more than twenty years, Laura Owens has pioneered an innovative—and at times controversial—approach to painting that challenges traditional assumptions about the nature of figuration and abstraction, the relationships among avant-garde art, craft, and pop culture, and the interplay between painting and contemporary technologies. Owens emerged on the Los Angeles art scene shortly after completing her studies at the California Institute of the Arts in 1994, at a time when painting was viewed with suspicion by the academic establishment and many of her peers favored more conceptual approaches to art-making. Owens bucked this prevailing trend with a series of large-scale canvases marked by their grand ambition on the one hand, and their incorporation of humbler, low-key marks and subjects on the other, merging abstraction with goofy personal allusions, as well as materials that seemed more the province of craft stores than the fine arts. References to cartooning, doodling, and a high-pitch, sometimes pastel palette served as further irritants to ingrained painterly pieties.

Over the ensuing decade Owens established herself as a key voice pushing painting towards a new conception of site-specificity grounded in the social, poetic, and architectural conditions of a particular place. Early on, she demonstrated a keen interest in how paintings function in a given room and used trompe-l’oeil techniques to extend the plane of a wall or floor directly into the illusionistic space of her pictures. These canvases often featured paintings within paintings and sometimes paintings within those, creating an effect of Russian nesting dolls that confused the boundaries of actual and pictorial space, as well as reality and representation. Owens’s approach offered a highly original conception of how a portable painting might allude to its initial setting (and its siblings in a series) while nevertheless remaining distinct from it, unlike the in situ wall paintings of previous generations. These works demonstrate a self-conscious and reflexive relationship to the physical world they occupy, while opening, almost paradoxically, onto a lush space of reverie, conjecture, and play.

Owens’s interest in American folk art, historical tapestries, and other vernacular forms led her to fill her canvases with imagery and materials, such as felt appliqué and needlework, that were anathema to more serious discourses on painting and to some of her critical commentators. Yet this non-hierarchical and omnivorous approach to source material and technique allowed her to push painting forward and to engage broader social issues in surprising ways. In the aftermath of the United States’s call to war following the events of 9/11, Owens turned to almost childlike depictions of nineteenth-century American soldiers and medieval images of knights to address our increasingly bellicose national conversation. Her longstanding preoccupation with supposedly “feminine” colors and motifs from charming animals to infantile gestures, as well as her allusions to romantic love and motherhood (including the incorporation within her work of her own children’s drawings and stories) has led to a disruptive rethinking of feminism in art.

Over the past five years, Owens has charted a dramatic transformation in her work, marshaling all of her previous interests and talents within large-scale paintings that make virtuosic use of silkscreen, computer manipulation, digital printing, and material exploration. Wild blown-up brushstrokes push off finely printed appropriations from newspapers and other media sources; actual wheels or mechanical devices like clock hands spin across a painting’s surface; images shuttle between the physical and virtual worlds to arrive back on canvas magically transfigured by their journey. In a 2015 Berlin exhibition, Owens precisely positioned a group of five, large, freestanding paintings in a staggered row so that from a specific vantage the writing on their surfaces resolved into a unified image in the eye. The following year she created an installation at the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco where paintings were embedded within walls covered in custom-printed wallpaper. Visitors were encouraged to interact with the installation by sending text messages to various numbers that triggered elliptical spoken replies broadcast by hidden speakers. Such bold experimentation with painting, sculpture, reference, and process have made Owens an important exemplar for younger generations of artists, many of whom cite her work as a key touchstone. Furthermore, she is a co-founder and programmer of 356 S. Mission Rd., a collaborative art gallery, bookstore, and event space that hosts regular exhibitions, readings, and screenings and has become a crucial gathering place and beacon for the Los Angeles art community and beyond. Continue reading

MPA: RED IN VIEW at The Whitney Museum Of American Art

Looking at Mars, this imagined space reflects most humans back to Earth.”

MPA

Since relocating to California’s Mojave desert in 2013, artist MPA (b. 1980; Redding, CA) has been immersed in a broad inquiry into the potential colonization of Mars, often known as the red planet. In this multi-part exhibition the artist looks at Mars as a place for settlement and a resource for our own planet, as well as a site of possible human origin. MPA’s research considers unconventional sources such as mythology, psychic accounts, and personal narratives, as credible authorities. By reflecting more generally on histories of colonization, RED IN VIEW raises questions of militarism and patriarchy, prompting us to examine our own, often subconscious, colonizing behaviors.

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MPA (b. 1980), Entrance, 2014–2016 (left). Pigmented inkjet print mounted on mat board and painted wood, 7 × 7 in. (17.8 × 17.8 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures. Surrender, 2014–2016 (right). Pigmented inkjet print mounted on mat board and painted wood, 7 × 7 in. (17.8 × 17.8 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Higher Pictures

This work was first presented as THE INTERVIEW: Red, Red Future (2016), organized by curator Dean Daderko, at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. RED IN VIEW, her exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, presents the second episode in this ongoing project.

RED IN VIEW unfolds in four movements throughout the museum. The exhibition begins in the lobby gallery and extends to the theater in February for a culminating performance. Over the course of ten continuous days, MPA and artists Malin Arnell and Amapola Prada perform Orbit, living in the narrow space between the windowpanes of the theater. The space becomes a biosphere: an enclosed, self-sustaining habitat, modeled after an environment where the first settlers on Mars might reside. (Aspects of the exhibition will be on view through February 27, 2017 in the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery, on the Museum’s first floor, which is accessible to the public free-of-charge.)

MOVEMENTS

I. Prelude

December 9, and January 13, 7–9:30 pm, Lobby and Lobby Gallery: A periodic live appearance in the gallery by two Martian moons, Phobos and Deimos.

II. The Interview

November 11–February 27, Lobby Gallery: The interview is active. You are invited to pick up the phone.

III. Orbit

February 9–19, Floor Three, Hess Family Theater: A test. MPA, with artists Malin Arnell and Amapola Prada, inhabit the narrow space between the windowpanes of the theater, overlooking the Hudson River. For twenty-four hours a day over the course of ten days, the space becomes an artificial biosphere: an enclosed, self-sustaining habitat, modeled after an environment where the first settlers on Mars would likely reside. The participants’ conditions emulate those of astronauts orbiting the earth: sleeping in ninety-minute periods and receiving messages on a delay. Everything is recorded and live-edited for Orbit TV, the final document of the trial.

IV. Assembly

February 19, 8 pm, Floor Three, Hess Family Theater *Tickets required: MPA hosts a dramatic live finale of Orbit. This theatrical event orchestrates a culminating series of actions within a sound environment by M. Cay Castagnetto.

MPA (b. 1980) has explored a range of meditative, durational, theatrical, and actionist modes of performance to engage “the energetic” as a potential material in live work. Enriched with ritual, her performances and installations critically examine behaviors of power in personal and social spaces. In previous works, she has proposed questions on the global arms race, patriarchy as governance, and the dysfunctional union of art and capitalist commodity. MPA’s work has been exhibited at the Swiss Institute, New York; Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE); the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Netherlands; and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, Mexico. Her dynamic body of work Directing Light onto Fist of Father (2011) at Leo Koenig Projekte in New York, combined a looping 16 mm film and a plaster cast of MPA’s father’s fist in an installation that incited three durational performances. In Trilogy (o) (2012), presented at Human Resources in Los Angeles, NASA sound recordings of dying stars accompanied thirty-one photographs of Nike war missiles arranged as a moon calendar. Continue reading

DAVID BRESLIN TO JOIN THE WHITNEY’S CURATORIAL DEPARTMENT

The Whitney Museum of American Art is pleased to announce that David Breslin is joining the Museum’s staff as Richard DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection. Currently the John R. Eckel, Jr. Chief Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston, Breslin will begin working at the Whitney in October.

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David Breslin To Join The Whitney’s Curatorial Department

Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, noted: “David is that rare and remarkable combination of a scholarly curator and sensitive champion of living artists. In his leadership position at the Whitney, he will help steward our collection and shape its future by guiding acquisition strategy, along with the display and publication of our holdings. We are delighted that David will further the Museum’s mission as a forum for artists and the most innovative ideas around twentieth- and twenty-first-century American art.”

At the Menil Drawing Institute, Breslin created an ambitious program of exhibitions and public and scholarly events and helped to shape the design of the Institute’s stand-alone facility set to open next year. At the Menil, Breslin curated The Precarious (2015–2016), a focused look at works in the collection indebted to the collage tradition, and Harold Ancart: There Is No There There (2016). He also oversaw work on the catalogue raisonné of the drawings of Jasper Johns set to be published in 2017 and grew the collection with acquisitions of works by artists including, among others, Trisha Brown, John Cage, Lee Mullican, Amy Sillman, Nancy Spero, Danh Vo, and Jack Whitten. Breslin currently serves as co-curator with Whitney curator David Kiehl of David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night, an authoritative retrospective of the artist to be presented at the Whitney in 2018. Breslin and Kiehl are co-editing the accompanying catalog.

I’m thrilled to be joining the Whitney at such an exciting and important time, shortly after the first anniversary of the Museum’s move downtown,” said Breslin. “It is an honor to be able to work with this dynamic and growing collection and help convey the diverse histories and possibilities of American art. I look forward to working with the Whitney’s exceptional staff—and thoughtful audiences—to create exhibitions and programs that challenge conceptions, inform interpretations, and, hopefully, provide some joy.”

Prior to joining the Menil Collection, 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. As associate director, Breslin partnered with international museum and academic colleagues to create a conference, colloquium, and symposium program for the museum; 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 2014, The Clark presented Breslin’s exhibition Raw Color: The Circles of David Smith. He also co-curated Make It New: Abstract Painting from the National Gallery of Art, 1950–1975. Most recently, Breslin worked on the Ellsworth Kelly-curated exhibition Monet | Kelly (seen at the Clark in 2015). In addition to curating exhibitions on El Anatsui and Juan Muñoz, among others, Breslin has edited numerous exhibition catalogues and authored essays on a range of artists including Paul Thek, Cady Noland, Valentin Carron, and Pablo Picasso.

Breslin earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Amherst College, a master’s in art history from Williams College, and a Ph.D. in the history of art and architecture from Harvard University. His doctoral dissertation, I WANT TO GO TO THE FUTURE: Jenny Holzer and the End of a Century, was informed by his experience working in Holzer’s studio, collaborating with the artist on many museum and gallery exhibitions—including Holzer’s 2009 exhibition at The Whitney—and organizing a diverse range of public projects. He was appointed to serve as an adviser in contemporary art initiatives at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA, while pursuing his doctorate.

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, and Sunday from 10:30 am to 6 pm; Friday and Saturday from 10:30 am to 10 pm. Closed Tuesday. Adults: $22 in advance via whitney.org; $25 day of visit. Full-time students and visitors 65 & over: $17 in advance via whitney.org; $18 day of visit. 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.

Fall Arts Preview: The Whitney Museum of American Art Presents An Overview of Cinematic Experimentation in Dreamlands: lmmersive Cinema and Art,1905-2016

This fall, the Whitney Museum of American Art will presents Dreamlands: lmmersive Cinema and Art, 1905-2016, a landmark exhibition that focuses on the ways in which artists have dismantled and reassembled the conventions of cinema-screen, projection, darkness-to create new experiences of the moving image. The exhibition will fill the Museum’s 18,000-square-foot Neil Bluhm Family Galleries on the fifth floor, as well as the adjacent Kaufman Gallery, and will include a film series in the Susan and John Hess Family Theater. Dreamlands will be on view from October 28, 2016 through February 5, 2017.the-whitney-museum-of-american-art-logo

Dreamlands brings together a group of artists whose work articulates the profound shift that has taken place as technology has transitioned the moving image from analog to virtual,” states the Whitney’s Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator Chrissie lies, who is curating the exhibition. “The exhibition’s title refers to the science fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft’s alternate fictional dimension, whose terrain of cities, forests, mountains, and an underworld can be visited only through dreams. Similarly, the spaces in Dreamlands connect different historical moments of cinematic experimentation, creating a story that unfolds like a map of dreaming. A series of immersive spaces fracture our assumptions of perspective, the horizon line, and a stable projected image.

bruce-conner-1933-2008-frame-enlargement-from-crossroads-1976-35mm-film-transferred-to-video-black-and-white-sound_-37-min-courtesy-conner-family-trust-and-kohn-gallery-los-angeles

Bruce Conner (1933–2008). Frame enlargement from CROSSROADS, 1976. 35mm film transferred to video, black-and-white, sound_ 37 min. Courtesy Conner Family Trust and Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles © Conner Family Trust

The exhibition, with works spanning from the early 1900s to the present, is the result of four years of intensive scholarly research by curator lies, involving experts from all corners of the worlds of art and film. It will be the most technologically complex project mounted in the Whitney’s new building to date, embracing a wide range of moving image techniques, from hand-painted film to the latest digital technologies.

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Trisha Baga (b. 1985), Flatlands, 2010 Video, color, sound; 18 min., with disco ball and 3D glasses. Collection of the artist; courtesy Greene Naftali Gallery, New York Installation view, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York, 2011 © Trisha Baga and Greene Naftali Gallery, New York

The works on view use color, touch, music, spectacle, light, and darkness to confound our expectations, flattening space through animation and abstraction, or heightening the illusion of three dimensions. Visitors will experience projections, sculptures, and installations that allow them to: walk through projection beams and reams of film stock; watch a video made with a 360-degree camera projected inside the ceiling of a cardboard geodesic dome, and on Oculus Rifts; view concept artwork made for Walt Disney‘s Fantasia; view a synesthetic environment in which music is written according to color; see the visual futurist Hollywood designer Syd Mead‘s colorful concept artwork for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner shown projected onto screens, creating a sense of the uncanny nair environment of the city; look at the world through 3-D glasses in installations; and step inside the screen and become part of it.

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Alex Da Corte (b. 1980) with Jayson Musson (b. 1977). Easternsports, 2014. Four-channel video, color, sound; 152 min., with four screens, neon, carpet, vinyl composition tile, metal folding chairs, artificial oranges, orange scent, and diffusers. Score by Devonté Hynes. Collection of the artists; courtesy David Risley Gallery, Copenhagen, and Salon 94, New York. Installation view, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, 2014 © Alex Da Corte; image courtesy the artist and Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania

The exhibition features works by American artists and filmmakers, and also includes a small number of works of German cinema and art from the 1920s with a strong relationship to, and influence on, American art and film. Featured are works in installation, drawing, 3-D environments, sculpture, performance, painting, and online space, by Trisha Baga, Ivana Basic, Frances Bodomo, Dora Budor, ian Cheng, Bruce Conner, Ben Coonley, Joseph Cornell, Andrea Crespo, Franc;:ois Curlet, Alex Da Corte, Oskar Fischinger, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Pierre Huyghe, Alex Israel, Mehdi Belhaj Kacem and Pierre Joseph, Aidan Koch, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Anthony McCall, Josiah McElheny, Syd Mead, Lorna Mills, Jayson Musson, Melik Ohanian, Philippe Parreno, Jenny Perlin, Mathias Poledna, Edwin S. Porter, Oskar Schlemmer, Hito Steyer!, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Stan VanDerBeek, Artie Vierkant, and Jud Yalkut, among others, some of which have been made especially for the exhibition.

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Lynn Hershman Leeson (b. 1941), Double Drawing, 1966 (recto). Ink, colored pencil, transfer type, watercolor, collaged gelatin silver prints, and plastic on paper, 8 x 4 in. (20.3 x 10.2 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy Bridget Donahue Gallery, New York © Lynn Hershman Leeson; photographs by Marc Brems Tatti; images courtesy Bridget Donahue Gallery, New York

As film historian Tom Gunning writes in his catalogue essay, “What is Cinema? The Challenge of the Moving Image Past and Future“: “Cinema, before it is anything else, before it is a story, a canvas for special effects, a display of the beauty and grace of stars, before it weaves a tissue of ideology or makes us laugh and cry, presents images that move. This is why it was invented, what separates it from the previous arts of depiction, and also what it shares with the torrent of emerging technological media. But this is also what we take for granted in watching movies and other moving-image media. Continue reading

The Whitney To Debut Carmen Herrera: Lines Of Sight, Opening September 16

This fall, The Whitney Museum Of American Art will present Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight, the first museum exhibition of this groundbreaking artist in New York City in nearly two decades. Focusing on the years 1948–1978, the period during which Herrera developed her signature, hard-edged style, the exhibition will situate Herrera’s pioneering abstract work in its proper place in the history of twentieth century art.

Carmen Herrera, Blanco y Verde, 1967.Acrylic on canvas, 40 × 70 in. (101.6 × 177.8 cm). Private Collection, New York. Art © Carmen Herrera

Carmen Herrera, Blanco y Verde, 1967.Acrylic on canvas, 40 × 70 in. (101.6 × 177.8 cm). Private Collection, New York. Art © Carmen Herrera

Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight features more than fifty works, including paintings, three-dimensional works, and works on paper. Organized by Dana Miller, until recently the Richard DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection at the Whitney, in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition will be on view at the Whitney from September 16, 2016, through January 2, 2017, and at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio, from February 4 through April 16, 2017.

Herrera has been painting for more than seven decades, though it is only over the past decade or so that acclaim for her work has catapulted the artist to international prominence. This overdue evaluation offers the first comprehensive look at her early career, the result of time spent in the art worlds of Havana, Paris, and New York,” explained Miller.

Carmen Herrera, Green and Orange, 1958. Acrylic on canvas, 60 × 72 in. (152.4 × 182.9 cm). Cejas Art Ltd. Paul and Trudy Cejas © Carmen Herrera

Carmen Herrera, Green and Orange, 1958. Acrylic on canvas, 60 × 72 in. (152.4 × 182.9 cm). Cejas Art Ltd. Paul and Trudy Cejas © Carmen Herrera

Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight is comprised of three sections, organized in rough chronological sequence. The first section features earlier works from the formative period, 1948–1958, during which Herrera experimented with different modes of abstraction before establishing the visual language that she would explore with great nuance for the succeeding five decades. Featuring more than a dozen paintings made while Herrera lived in Paris (1948–1953) in the years following World War II, many of these works have never been displayed before in a museum. It was during this period that Herrera developed her distinctive style of geometric abstraction, moving towards cleaner lines and a reduced palette. Crucially, she also began using the edges of the canvas and the frame as compositional elements.

An unprecedented gathering of works from what Herrera considers her most important series, Blanco y Verde, comprise the second section and this room will serve as the centerpiece of the exhibition. The nine paintings from the series, spanning the years 1959–1971, illustrate the groundbreaking ways in which Herrera conceptualized her paintings as objects, using the physical structure of the canvas as a compositional tool and integrating the surrounding environment. These Blanco y Verde works will be isolated in their own gallery, illuminating the various compositional twists and inflections of the dichromatic works and creating a dynamic interplay of visual correspondences.

Carmen Herrera, Untitled, 1948. Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 38 in. (121.9 × 96.5 cm). Collection of Yolanda Santos. Art © Carmen Herrera

Carmen Herrera, Untitled, 1948. Acrylic on canvas, 48 × 38 in. (121.9 × 96.5 cm). Collection of Yolanda Santos. Art © Carmen Herrera

The final section will feature work dating from approximately 1962–1978, illuminating Herrera’s continued experimentation with figure/ground relationships. Also included in this section are four sculptural works, which Herrera refers to as “estructuras.” These wooden works, alongside several drawings from the 1960s, will illustrate the crucial architectural aspect of her vision and the way in which many of Herrera’s paintings begin with a three-dimensional concept. The latest works in this section will be seven vivid paintings that comprise her brilliant Days of the Week series from 1975–78.

Born May 30, 1915, in Havana, Cuba, Carmen Herrera was educated in Havana and Paris, studying art, art history, and architecture. In 1939 she married an American, Jesse Loewenthal, and moved to New York City, where she attended classes at the Art Students League and was a frequent visitor to the Whitney Museum of American Art. From 1948 to 1953, Herrera and Loewenthal lived in Paris, where she became associated with an international group of artists, the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles. Herrera exhibited her work with them regularly and developed a distilled, geometric style of abstraction, reducing her palette to three colors for each composition, then further to two. Herrera’s hard-edged canvases emerged at the same time that Ellsworth Kelly, whose time in France overlapped with Herrera’s, began producing his own abstractions and around the same time that Frank Stella began producing his famous black paintings.

Herrera’s ascetic compositions, which prefigured the development of Minimalism by almost a decade, did not find a warm reception when she returned to New York in 1954, a time when Abstract Expressionism still reigned supreme. As both a woman and an immigrant, Herrera faced significant discrimination in the art world; yet she persisted, and continued to paint for the next six decades, only rarely exhibiting her work publicly. Today, at the age of 101, Herrera continues to work almost every day in her studio, and her oeuvre demonstrates a disciplined but highly sophisticated exploration of color and form. As she once stated, “I believe that I will always be in awe of the straight line, its beauty is what keeps me painting.” Since the late 1990s Herrera has garnered increasing attention for her work, selling her first painting in 2004. The last significant museum presentation of Herrera’s work in this country was a 2005 show at Miami Art Central, which was preceded only by a 1998 show of her black and white paintings at El Museo del Barrio and a 1985 show at The Alternative Museum, both in New York. Her first monographic presentation in Europe was held at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, England, in 2009, which then traveled to Museum Pfalzgalerie, Kaiserslautern, Germany. In the last decade, the Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and Tate Modern have all acquired works by the artist.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, with essays by Miller as well as Serge Lemoine, emeritus professor at the Sorbonne and former chief curator and director of the Musée d’Orsay; Gerardo Mosquera, art historian, critic, and curator based in Havana and Madrid; and Edward J. Sullivan, Helen Gould Sheppard Professor in the History of Art, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. The catalogue will also contain an illustrated chronology by Monica Espinel.

Major support is provided by the Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation and the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Generous support is provided by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.; Tony Bechara; Tom and Lisa Blumenthal; and The Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation. Additional support is provided by Estrellita and Daniel Brodsky, The Cowles Charitable Trust, Sondra Gilman and Celso Gonzalez-Falla, Agnes Gund, the Elizabeth A. Sackler Museum Educational Trust, and an anonymous donor. Significant endowment support is provided by Sueyun and Gene Locks.

Opening This Fall: The Whitney To Present Overview of 20th Century Cinematic Experimentation in Dreamland: Immersive Cinema And Art, 1905–2016

The Whitney LogoThis fall, The Whitney Museum of American Art presents Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016, a landmark exhibition that focuses on the ways in which artists have dismantled and reassembled the conventions of cinema—screen, projection, darkness—to create new experiences of the moving image. The exhibition will fill the Museum’s 18,000-square-foot Neil Bluhm Family Galleries on the fifth floor, as well as the adjacent Kaufman Gallery, and will include a film series in the third-floor Susan and John Hess Family Theater. Dreamlands will be on view from October 28, 2016 through February 5, 2017.

As film historian Tom Gunning writes in his catalogue essay, “What is Cinema? The Challenge of the Moving Image Past and Future”: “Cinema, before it is anything else, before it is a story, a canvas for special effects, a display of the beauty and grace of stars, before it weaves a tissue of ideology or makes us laugh and cry, presents images that move. This is why it was invented, what separates it from the previous arts of depiction, and also what it shares with the torrent of emerging technological media. But this is also what we take for granted in watching movies and other moving-image media.

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Hito Steyerl (b. 1966), Installation view of Factory of the Sun, 2015 (German Pavilion, 56th Venice Biennale, 2015). Video, color, sound; 21 min., looped; with environment, dimensions variable. Collection of the artist; courtesy Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York. Photograph by Manuel Reinartz; image courtesy the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York

The exhibition features works by American artists and filmmakers (including , Trisha Baga, Frances Bodomo, Dora Budor, Ian Cheng, Bruce Conner, Ben Coonley, Joseph Cornell, Andrea Crespo, François Curlet, Alex Da Corte, Oskar Fischinger, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Pierre Huyghe, Alex Israel, Mehdi Belhaj Kacem and Pierre Joseph, Aidan Koch, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Anthony McCall, Josiah McElheny, Syd Mead, Lorna Mills, Melik Ohanian, Philippe Parreno, Jenny Perlin, Mathias Poledna, Edwin S. Porter, Oskar Schlemmer, Hito Steyerl, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Stan VanDerBeek, Artie Vierkant, and Jud Yalkut, among others) and also includes a small number of works of German cinema and art from the 1920s with a strong relationship to, and influence on, American art and film. The exhibition, with works spanning from the early 1900s to the present, is the result of four years of intensive scholarly research by curator Iles, involving experts from all corners of the worlds of art and film. It will be the most technologically complex project mounted in the Whitney’s new building to date, embracing a wide range of moving image techniques, from hand-painted film to the latest digital technologies, some of which have been made especially for the exhibition.

The works on view will use color, touch, music, spectacle, light, and darkness to confound our expectations, flattening space through animation and abstraction, or heightening the illusion of three dimensions. Visitors will experience projections, sculptures, and installations that allow them to: walk through projection beams and reams of film stock; watch a video made with a 360-degree camera projected inside the ceiling of a cardboard geodesic dome, and on Oculus Rifts; view concept artwork made for Walt Disney’s Fantasia; view a synesthetic environment in which music is written according to color; see the visual futurist Hollywood designer Syd Mead’s colorful concept artwork for Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner shown projected onto screens, creating a sense of the uncanny noir environment of the city; look at the world through 3-D glasses in installations; and step inside the screen and become part of it.

The exhibition is organized into three parts:

1905–1930s: The first part, beginning in 1905 and including a group of works from the 1920s and 1930s, shows some of the earliest experiments with cinematic space, and the way in which sweeping camera shots, abstraction, color, music, and kaleidoscopic space were used to create what Tom Gunning has called a “cinema of attractions,” in which the spectator is jolted out of the conventions of seeing. In a 1968 film reconstruction of Oskar Schlemmer’s classic Triadic Ballet (1922), dancers move across a flattened space of color like animated figures on a screen. In Fischinger’s 1926 work Raumlichtkunst (Space Light Art), three screens project abstract color forms, including hypnotic spirals and geometric shapes, to percussive music, creating what Fischinger described as “an intoxication of light.

1940s–1980s: In the second part of the exhibition, which includes concept artwork from Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940) as well as Bruce Conner’s spectacular CROSSROADS (1976), a collage of government film footage depicting atomic test explosions, the idealistic experiments of the previous decades give way to a darker and more fragmented experience of the cinematic. Drawings and watercolors from three key moments of Disney’s immersive sensory fusion of music and image clearly situate Fantasia as both part of the end of the pre-World War II utopian vision for cinema, and the beginning of a new media environment that followed the end of the war and the dropping of the atomic bomb. Projective installations by Jud Yalkut (Destruct Film, 1967) and Anthony McCall (Line Describing a Cone, 1973) detach the screen from its fixed position, dispersing it into a dark space in which the light beam becomes a sculptural form furthering the shift from image to surface that had begun in the 1920s. The simultaneous blurring of the boundary between technology and the human body, epitomized by the science fiction film Blade Runner (1982), can be seen in a group of production design paintings for the film by Syd Mead, specially assembled for the exhibition to reveal the cinematic space of the city as spectacle.

1990S–THE PRESENT: The third part of the exhibition articulates the breadth and complexity of more recent works in which cinematic space has been reassembled into new models by contemporary artists. The relationship between the body and technology has been recalibrated through the touch screen and virtual space, through a continual online exchange of images, visual styles, avatars, anime, and identities. The infinite manipulability of the digital image, now dominated by the graphic, animated form, special effects, and virtual reality, has produced a new visual ecosystem, in which artifice and reality have become versions of each other.

The fear and exhilaration around the idea of the organic living body becoming fused with technological elements, seen in the earliest robotic figures of Oskar Schlemmer, return here in the form of an artificial intelligence persona played by actress Tilda Swinton, who talks to viewers through a mirrored screen and a microphone in the pioneer Lynn Hershman Leeson’s DiNA. In Ian Cheng’s “live simulations,” chat bots projected onto a large screen talk to each other, or to themselves, creating a narrative in a state of perpetual evolution.

Dora Budor’s new sculpture, made for the exhibition, is a large cube-shaped environment, whose shape evokes the Borg Cube from Star Trek. Its interior walls pulse with flickering light triggered by viewers moving through the space, which illuminates the ceiling above, a resin panel inside of which six thousand dead frogs—special effects props used in the film Magnolia (1999)—are suspended above our heads. Also included in the exhibition will be Hito Steyerl’s immersive installation Factory of the Sun, commissioned for the German Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale and shown in New York for the first time here.

Dreamlands brings together a group of artists whose work articulates the profound shift that has taken place as technology has transitioned the moving image from analog to virtual,” states Curator Chrissie Iles, who is curating the exhibition. “The exhibition’s title refers to the science fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft’s alternate fictional dimension, whose terrain of cities, forests, mountains, and an underworld can be visited only through dreams. Similarly, the spaces in Dreamlands connect different historical moments of cinematic experimentation, creating a story that unfolds like a map of dreaming. A series of immersive spaces fracture our assumptions of perspective, the horizon line, and a stable projected image.”

The exhibition will also include a film program, featuring artists and filmmakers from the earliest days of cinema to the most cutting-edge artists working with virtual reality and digital space. A catalogue will be published by the Whitney (distributed by Yale University Press) to accompany the exhibition, including essays by Karen Archey, Giuliana Bruno, John Canemaker, Brian Droitcour, Noam Elcott, Tom Gunning, J. Hoberman, Esther Leslie, David Lewis, and Chrissie Iles.

Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art, 1905–2016 is sponsored by Audi. Major support is provided by the Dalio Foundation, The Robert Rosenkranz Foundation, and the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Additional generous support is provided by Lori Chemla and Catherine Orentreich.