The Whitney To Present Eckhaus Latta: Possessed

This summer, The Whitney Museum of American Art will present the first museum solo exhibition of Eckhaus Latta, the New York-and Los Angeles-based fashion label, founded in 2011 by Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta. Eckhaus Latta: Possessed highlights the work of this compelling young design team who belong to a new generation of designers operating at the intersection of fashion and contemporary art.

Untitled (Preparatory drawing for Possessed), 2018. Colored pencil on paper. Image courtesy the artists

Untitled (Preparatory drawing for Possessed), 2018. Colored pencil on paper. Image courtesy the artists

Eckhaus Latta’s fashion designs—for which they are currently finalists for the 2018 LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers—explore, in part, identity and reflect the fluid nature of gender and sexuality. While they fully participate in the fashion system, Latta and Eckhaus remain self-aware of their roles in a consumer society. Their recognizable designs have featured experimental knitwear; a wide range of materials including lace, rust, and recycled fabrics; and a general approach that supersedes gender binaries. At times, models are sent down the runway wearing clothes that challenge traditional definitions of male and female. Vanessa Friedman, fashion director and chief fashion critic at the New York Times, wrote that their clothes “are a kind of petri dish of associative splicing,” and that they “grapple honestly with what is on the designers’ minds: questions of gender and difference and the details of fallible beauty…

This will be the first exhibition related to fashion at the Museum in twenty-one years, since The Warhol Look: Glamour, Style, Fashion (1997).

Eckhaus Latta: Possessed is organized by Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Associate Curator, and Lauri London Freedman, head of product development.

The exhibition, part of the Museum’s emerging artist series, will be on view in the first-floor John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery from August 3 through October 8, 2018. Access to the gallery is free of charge.

Mike Eckhaus (b. 1987, New York, NY) and Zoe Latta (b. 1987, Santa Cruz, CA) met as students at the Rhode Island School of Design while studying sculpture and textiles, respectively. They are known for using unexpected materials, emphasizing texture and tactility in their designs, and for incorporating writing, performance, and video into their practice. Through their emphasis on collaboration—with artists, musicians, and others—and an approach that plays with, and against, industry conventions, Eckhaus Latta addresses the crosscurrents of desire, consumption, and social relations. Their work has been featured in Greater New York 2015 at MoMA PS1 and Made in L.A. (2016) at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

As part of the Whitney’s emerging artist program, we sometimes showcase creative figures outside of the visual arts,” said Lew. “These figures from fields such as fashion, music, architecture, design, and food approach their disciplines in ways that are akin to visual artists, often questioning the systems and parameters that define what they do, speaking to the broader cultural moment, and blurring the boundaries between disciplines.”

Working with Mike and Zoe has challenged us to consider the roles that our Museum spaces play and the objects that are presented. They pushed us to ask broader questions such as ‘How can we reexamine the format of an exhibition?’ and ‘What is the best way to exhibit an artist’s work?’ said Freedman.

For their Whitney exhibition, Eckhaus Latta will create a new three-part installation that embraces and brings into conversation various aspects of the fashion industry, from advertising and the consumer experience to voyeurism. At the entrance to the gallery will be a sequence of photographs that play on the tropes of iconic photoshoots found in fashion advertisements and magazines. These photographs explore how Eckhaus Latta’s unique aesthetic functions in relation to the highly polished look of the industry’s media. The core of their installation will be an operational retail environment in which visitors are welcome to touch, try on, and purchase clothing and accessories designed specifically for the show. This space is made in collaboration with more than a dozen artists whom Eckhaus Latta has been in dialogue with over the years who have created functional elements such as clothing racks, display shelves, and a dressing room. The exhibition concludes with a darkened room, evocative of a security office, which features a bank of screens depicting surveillance footage. Visitors will have a voyeuristic view of not only the rest of the installation but a glimpse of the tracking and surveillance that so often accompanies the experience of shopping.

The featured collaborators are Susan Cianciolo (b. 1969, Providence, RI; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY), Lauren Davis Fisher (b. 1984, Cambridge, MA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA), Avena Venus Gallagher (b. 1973, Seattle, WA; lives and works in New York, NY), Jeffrey Joyal (b. 1988, Boston, MA; lives and works in New York, NY), Alexa Karolinski (b. 1984, Berlin, Germany; lives and works in Los Angeles), Valerie Keane (b. 1989, Passaic, NJ; lives and works in New York, NY), Jay Latta (b. 1951, Santa Cruz, CA; lives in works in Santa Cruz, CA), Matthew Lutz-Kinoy (b. 1984, New York, NY; lives and works between Los Angeles, CA and Paris, France), Annabeth Marks (b.1986, Rochester, NY; lives and works in New York, NY), Riley O’Neill (b. 1992, Los Angeles, CA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA), Emma T. Price (b. 1987, Santa Cruz, CA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA), Jessi Reaves (b. 1986, Portland, OR; lives and works in New York, NY), Erica Sarlo (b. 1988, Briarcliff Manor, NY; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY), Nora Jane Slade (b. 1986, Washington, D.C.; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA), Sophie Stone (b. 1987, Boston, MA; lives and works in New York, NY), Martine Syms (b. 1988, Los Angeles, CA; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA), Torey Thornton (b. 1990, Macon, GA; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY), Charlotte Wales (b. 1986, Farnborough, UK; lives and works in London, UK), Eric Wrenn (b. 1985, Southfield, MI; lives and works in New York, NY), and Amy Yao (b. 1977, Los Angeles, CA; lives and works in Long Beach, CA and New York, NY).

Major support for Eckhaus Latta: Possessed is provided by the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation. Additional support is provided by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner.

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: $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.

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David Wojnarowicz Retrospective At The Whitney Explores The Enduring Resonance Of An Artist Who Merged The Personal And The Political

This summer, the most complete presentation to date of the work of artist, writer, and activist David Wojnarowicz will be on view in a full-scale retrospective organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art. David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night is the first major re-evaluation since 1999 of one of the most fervent and essential voices of his generation.

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David Wojnarowicz with Tom Warren, Self-Portrait of David Wojnarowicz, 1983–84. Acrylic and collaged paper on gelatin silver print, 60 × 40 in. (152.4 × 101.6 cm). Collection of Brooke Garber Neidich and Daniel Neidich, Photograph by Ron Amstutz. (The exhibition is organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection, and David Kiehl, Curator Emeritus, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.)

Opening at the Whitney on July 13 and running through September 30, David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night features more than a hundred works by the artist and is organized by two Whitney curators, David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection, and David Kiehl, Curator Emeritus. The exhibition, which will be installed in the Museum’s fifth floor Neil Bluhm Family Galleries through September 30, draws upon the scholarly resources of the Fales Library and Special Collections (NYU), the repository of Wojnarowicz’s archive, and is also built on the foundation of the Whitney’s extensive holdings of Wojnarowicz’s work, including thirty works from the Museum’s collection. It will travel to the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, in May 2019, and to Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg City, in November 2019.

Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, remarked, “Since his death more than twenty-five years ago, David Wojnarowicz has become an almost mythic figure, haunting, inspiring, and calling to arms subsequent generations through his inseparable artistic and political examples. This retrospective will enable so many to confront for the first time, or anew, the groundbreaking multidisciplinary body of work on which his legacy actually stands.”

Beginning in the late 1970s, David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992) created a body of work that spanned photography, painting, music, film, sculpture, writing, performance, and activism. Joining a lineage of iconoclasts, Wojnarowicz (pronounced Voyna-ROW-vich) saw the outsider as his true subject. His mature period began with a series of photographs and collages that honored—and placed himself among—consummate countercultural figures like Arthur Rimbaud, William Burroughs, and Jean Genet. Even as he became well-known in the East Village art scene for his mythological paintings, Wojnarowicz remained committed to writing personal essays. Queer and HIV-positive, Wojnarowicz became an impassioned advocate for people with AIDS at a time when an inconceivable number of friends, lovers, and strangers—disproportionately gay men—were dying from the disease and from government inaction.

After hitchhiking across the U.S. and living for several months in San Francisco, and then in Paris, David Wojnarowicz settled in New York in 1978 and soon after began to exhibit his work in East Village galleries. Largely self-taught, Wojnarowicz came to prominence in New York in the 1980s, a period marked by great creative energy and profound cultural changes. Intersecting movements—graffiti, new and no wave music, conceptual photography, performance, neo-expressionist painting—made New York a laboratory for innovation. Unlike many artists, Wojnarowicz refused a signature style, adopting a wide variety of techniques with an attitude of radical possibility. Distrustful of inherited structures, a feeling amplified by the resurgence of conservative politics, Wojnarowicz varied his repertoire to better infiltrate the culture.

His essay for the catalog accompanying the exhibition Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing (curated by Nan Goldin at Artists Space in 1989–90) came under fire for its vitriolic attack on politicians and leaders who were preventing AIDS treatment and awareness. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) threatened to defund the exhibition, and Wojnarowicz fought against this and for the first amendment rights of artists. Continue reading

Lindsay Pollock Named Chief Communications and Content Officer At The Whitney

The Whitney Museum of American Art is pleased to announce the appointment of Lindsay Pollock as Chief Communications and Content Officer. She joins the Museum on May 7.

Pollock comes to the Whitney from Art in America where she was Editor-in-Chief from 2011 to 2017. While there, she succeeded in re-positioning and re-energizing one of the oldest and most venerable contemporary art magazines.

Lindsay Pollock Named Chief Communications and Content Officer At The Whitney

Lindsay Pollock Named Chief Communications and Content Officer At The Whitney

Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director, said, “Lindsay has long standing relationships and expertise in the art world as well as a deep appreciation for the Whitney’s mission and ethos. She will bring a creative spirit and fresh perspective to the areas she’ll be overseeing, including communications, digital media, and graphic design. We are thrilled that Lindsay will be joining the Museum.”

As Editor-in-Chief at Art in America, Pollock led strategic development and execution for the editorial aspects of the publication, in both print and on the web; worked with the Publisher to develop new audiences and invigorate existing ones; and, endeavored to increase revenues at a difficult time for the industry. She recruited new editorial staff; developed, trained, and mentored editorial and production staff; and promoted the magazine’s visibility through speaking engagements, events, and partnerships.

The Whitney is one of the most dynamic and vibrant art institutions in the U.S., which happens to have been founded by a visionary woman, and whose nearly century-old mission is rooted in the desire to support and engage with American art,” said Pollock. “I am sincerely honored to be part of the talented team helping to shape the Whitney’s next chapter.”

Prior to her time at Art in America, Pollock worked for a number of years as a journalist, covering the arts at Bloomberg News, The Art Newspaper, and the New York Sun. Early in her career, she worked as marketing director for the Central Park Conservancy and as marketing manager at Sotheby’s. She is the author of The Girl with the Gallery, a biography on pioneering American art dealer Edith Halpert (Public Affairs, 2006). Pollock earned her B.A. in Art History from Barnard College and a M.S. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

The Whitney To Present The First Museum Survey Of The Work Of Mary Corse

This June, the Whitney Museum of American Art will debut Mary Corse: A Survey in Light, the first museum survey devoted to the work of Mary Corse (born 1945, Berkeley, CA; lives and works in Topanga, CA). One of the few women associated with the West Coast Light and Space movement of the 1960s, Corse shared with her contemporaries a deep fascination with perception and with the possibility that light itself could serve as both a subject and material of art. Yet while others largely migrated away from painting into sculptural and environmental projects, Corse approached the question of light through painting.

Mary Corse (b. 1945), Untitled (Space + Electric Light), 1968

Mary Corse (b. 1945), Untitled (Space + Electric Light), 1968. Argon light, plexiglass, and high-frequency generator, 45 1/4 x 45 1/4 x 4 3/4 in. (114.9 x 114.9 x 12.1 cm). Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; museum purchase with funds from the Annenberg Foundation. Photograph by Philipp Scholz Rittermann

This long-overdue examination—which will run at the Whitney from June 8 through November 25 in the eighth-floor Hurst Family Galleries—focuses on key moments of experimentation in Corse’s career, highlighting the ways in which her unique formal and material investigations helped forge a new language of painting.

The Whitney exhibition begins in 1964, when, following an unusually intense education in abstract painting as a teen in Berkeley, Corse enrolled at Chouinard Art Institute and moved to downtown Los Angeles. There, she dove headlong into a sustained dialogue with painting, questioning its most essential elements and forms—the brushstroke, the edge, the monochrome, the grid—while charting her own course through studies in quantum physics and unconventional “painting” materials, from fluorescent light and plexiglass to metallic flakes, glass microspheres, and clay. The survey will bring together for the first time Corse’s key bodies of work—including her early shaped canvases, freestanding sculptures, and the light encasements that she engineered between 1966 and 1968, in her early twenties, as well as her breakthrough White Light paintings, begun in 1968, and the Black Earth series that she initiated after moving in 1970 from her downtown studio to the rugged hills of Topanga Canyon.

As a focused survey that will introduce Corse’s work to many visitors, this exhibition endeavors to historicize this understudied artist’s career while placing significant attention on the viewing experience in the galleries. Corse’s exquisite works capture the physical and metaphysical qualities of light on a two-dimensional surface and have the power to activate the viewer in the creation of the perceptual experience: the kinetic effect of the work is contingent upon the movement of the body through space. This experiential component of Corse’s work will be of paramount importance to the installation.

The exhibition is organized in association with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, where it will be on view from July 28 through November 10, 2019. Organized by Kim Conaty, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawings and Prints, with Melinda Lang, curatorial assistant, in close collaboration with the artist, the exhibition unfolds both chronologically and thematically, presenting approximately 25 works dating from the mid-1960s to the present.

Conaty noted: “It’s an exciting moment to recognize Corse’s pioneering achievements, now more than five decades after she began. The experience of her work, which can be both material and immaterial, minimal and maximal, makes us slow down and look, then look again. There is a real magic to the work that is felt, not just seen, and we’re thrilled to offer our visitors the opportunity to discover it.”

In addition, in May 2018, Dia Art Foundation will unveil a new gallery dedicated to Corse at Dia:Beacon. On view for three years, this long-term installation examines the artist’s use of light and geometric form in painting. It celebrates recent acquisitions within a broader group of works that highlights the period from the late 1960s through the 1970s. On October 12, the Whitney is partnering with Dia to present a symposium at the Whitney reflecting on Corse’s career and offering new perspectives on her work. Further details will be forthcoming.

Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, commented: “Corse’s exhibition at the Whitney and installation at Dia will finally position her as the true innovator she has been for more than half a century. Not only did she play a key role in the emergence of the West Coast Light and Space movement, but since then she has persistently developed a body of painting remarkable for its technical experimentation and otherworldly beauty.”

Born in Berkeley, California, in 1945, Corse moved to Los Angeles in 1964 and earned her BFA at the Chouinard Art Institute (now California Institute of the Arts) in 1968. Her work was included at the time in several important group exhibitions, such as the 1970 Annual Exhibition at the Whitney (1970); Permutations: Light and Color, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (1970); and Twenty–Four Young Los Angeles Artists, LACMA (1971). Recently, her work has been featured in group exhibitions including Phenomenal: California Light, Space, Surface, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2011); Pacific Standard Time: Crosscurrents in L.A. Painting and Sculpture, 1950–1970, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles (2011); Surface, Support, Process: The 1960s Monochrome in the Guggenheim Collection, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2011); Reductive Minimalism: Women Artists in Dialogue, 1960–2012, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor (2014); and Light and Space, Seattle Art Museum, WA (2015).

Corse is the recipient of the New Talent Purchase Award, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1967); the Theodoron Award, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (1971); a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1972); and the Cartier Foundation Award (1993).

A richly illustrated monograph, published in cooperation with Yale University Press, will accompany the presentation. The publication features an essay by Conaty, along with additional texts by Robin Clark (Director of the Artist Initiative, SFMoMA), Michael Govan (CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, Los Angeles County Museum of Art), Alexis Lowry (Associate Curator, Dia Art Foundation), and artist David Reed, as well as an illustrated chronology and exhibition history. It will serve as the first sustained study of Corse’s work and is intended to advance significantly the scholarship and interpretation around the artist’s practice.

Mary Corse: A Survey in Light is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in association with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Significant support for Mary Corse: A Survey in Light is provided by The Barnett and Annalee Newman Foundation, Sueyun and Gene Locks, and Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen.

The Whitney Announces Spring Public Programs

This spring, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents a series of talks, performances, and workshops in conjunction with its exhibitions Between the Waters, Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables, Nick Mauss: Transmissions, and Zoe Leonard: Survey. These public programs offer opportunities to engage with artists and scholars to consider the questions and themes explored in each exhibition.

SCHEDULE OF PUBLIC PROGRAMS

The schedule is subject to change.

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), Transmissions, March 16–May 14, 2018

Nick Mauss (b. 1980), Transmissions, March 16–May 14, 2018. Whitney Museum of American Art. Performers pictured: Ahmaud Culver, Jasmine Hearn, and Anna Witenberg, March 13, 2018. Photograph © Paula Court

Strange Fruit, Saturday, March 24, 3 pm

Over five years, Zoe Leonard sewed together skins of fruit to create Strange Fruit (1992–1997). Leonard chose not to preserve the resulting work, intending for its decay to be on view. On the occasion of the work’s appearance for the first time since 2001 in Zoe Leonard: Survey, a range of voices will reflect on Strange Fruit and its multiple historical inflections, its relevance and resonance today, and its very specific material existence. Speakers include writer, AIDS activist, and film- and videomaker Gregg Bordowitz; conceptual, interdisciplinary, transgender artist Jonah Groeneboer; interdisciplinary artist Katherine Hubbard; writer and scholar Fred Moten; artist Cameron Rowland; and conservator of contemporary art Christian Scheidemann. Elisabeth Sherman, assistant curator, moderates the conversation.

Tickets are required ($10 adults; $8 members, students, and seniors, plus Museum admission; free for members).

A Chilling Make Believe: Alexis Rockman on Grant Wood
Friday, April 6, 6:30 pm

This talk by artist Alexis Rockman examines the romanticized and ambivalent view of a pre-industrial rural world depicted in Grant Wood’s landscape paintings. Situating Wood in a tradition of American art in which national identity depends on a personal visual vocabulary, Rockman shares his longstanding engagement with Wood through paintings that mix contemporary dread and hope for our ecological future.

Tickets are required ($10 adults; $8 members, students, and seniors).

Demian DinéYazhi’: An Infected Sunset
Friday, April 20, 7 pm

In conjunction with the exhibition Between the Waters, Demian DinéYazhi’ reads selections from his poem, An Infected Sunset. This long-form descriptive prose poem is a reflection on queer sex, survival, death politics, indigenous identity, environmental injustice, and the importance of honoring community. The evening begins with a performance by Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache).

Free with Museum admission during Pay-As-You-Wish Fridays. Advanced registration required.

Badlands Unlimited presents What is Cryptocurrency?
Friday, April 27, 6:30 pm

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, and other cryptocurrencies claim to hold the potential to revolutionize the very nature of global economics by decentralizing how money and value are exchanged. This program explores the basics of crypto: its history, technology, and current application in the field of finance and beyond. Maya Binyam and Grayson Earle, co-founders of Bail Bloc, a cryptocurrency app that seeks a real-world exchange value against bail, also lead a conversation about what crypto can be for artists and writers.

Tickets are required ($10 adults; $8 members, students, and seniors).

Transmissions: Nick Mauss in conversation with Elena Filipovic, Jennifer Homans, and Elisabeth Sussman
Friday, May 4, 6:30 pm

In conjunction with Nick Mauss: Transmissions, this roundtable conversation explores the genesis of the exhibition through multiple circuits of inquiry and dialogue, how the interdependence of dance and art histories can be exhibited, and what challenges are brought up in the presentation of ephemeral, time-based, collaborative works. Addressing some of the counter-histories proposed by Transmissions, this conversation emphasizes exhibition-making as an artistic form. Mauss speaks with Elena Filipovic, director and curator, Kunsthalle Basel, Jennifer Homans, founder and director, The Center for Ballet in the Arts at NYU, and Elisabeth Sussman, Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography and co-curator of Nick Mauss: Transmissions, each of whom has worked closely with the artist. This program is organized in collaboration with The Center for Ballet and the Arts at New York University.

Tickets are required ($10 adults; $8 members, students, and seniors). Continue reading

The Whitney To Host A Variety Of Performances And Programs With Artists And Critics In February

mecca vazie andrews and the MOVEMENT: [title]
Saturday, February 3, 2018. 4 pm

An immersive performance in dialogue with the work of Laura Owens, mecca vazie andrews and the MOVEMENT’s [title] combines movement, sound, and projection. The running time is approximately fifty minutes. This program is organized in conjunction with Laura Owens in collaboration with 356 S. Mission Rd.

Tickets are required for the performance ($10 adults; $8 members, students, and seniors, plus Museum admission; free for members).

What Art Speaks to These Times
Wednesday, February 7, 6:30 pm

What does it mean to be an artist in this political moment? An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017 examines how artists have confronted the political and social issues of their day. This panel brings together four artists in the exhibition to speak about their individual aesthetic approaches to the political urgencies of our present moment. Speakers include artists Ja’Tovia Gary, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Julie Mehretu, and Dread Scott. Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator, moderates the discussion.

Tickets are required ($10 adults; $8 members, students, and seniors). This event will also be livestreamed on Facebook.

Toyin Ojih Odutola in conversation Yaa Gyasi with Texas Isaiah
Friday, February 9, 6:30 pm

In her exhibition To Wander Determined, Toyin Ojih Odutola presents an interconnected series of fictional portraits, chronicling the lives of two aristocratic Nigerian families. For this program, Ojih Odutola invites novelist Yaa Gyasi, whose debut novel Homegoing received the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for Best First Book, and visual narrator Texas Isaiah, whose work documents gender, race, and sexuality, to discuss their respective practices as artists and their overlapping and intersecting interests, from narrative and portraiture to migration and dislocation. The conversation is moderated by Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator.The Whitney logo

This event has reached ticketing capacity but will be live-streamed on Facebook. A limited number of standby tickets may be available at the admissions desk on a first-come, first-served basis. The standby line will open one hour prior to the program’s start time.

Where He Was: Auden in America
Sunday, February 25, 3 pm

Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900–1960, takes as its starting point a poem by W.H. Auden, September 1, 1939, which considers the ‘euphoric dream’ of American life on the cusp of world war, through the eyes of a foreigner, an Englishman. But why was Auden’s understanding of his adopted homeland so enduringly clear-eyed? Join two other U.S.-based émigré writers, poet Paul Muldoon and professor Michael Wood, for a conversation about Auden in America. A collaboration with the London Review of Books, their discussion will draw on Wood’s writing about Auden for the LRB, and Muldoon’s pastiche of his work in the poem 7, Middagh Street, to reflect on the USA’s significance for Auden, and vice versa, and why outsider perspectives can be the best mirror for a nation seeking to understand itself.

Tickets are required ($10 adults; $8 members, students, and seniors).

For a complete listing of upcoming programs, please visit whitney.org.

An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017 is organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection; Jennie Goldstein, assistant curator; and Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator; with David Kiehl, curator emeritus; and Margaret Kross, curatorial assistant.

Laura Owens is organized by Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, with Jessica Man, curatorial assistant.

Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined is organized by Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator and Melinda Lang, curatorial assistant.

Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900–1960 is organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection, with Jennie Goldstein, assistant curator, and Margaret Kross, curatorial assistant.

Major support for An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017 is provided by The American Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, President.

Significant support is provided by the Ford Foundation. Major support for Laura Owens is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Whitney’s National Committee.

Significant support is provided by Nancy and Steve Crown; Candy and Michael Barasch; The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston; Mariel and Jack Cayre; Marcia Dunn and Jonathan Sobel; and anonymous donors.

Generous support is provided by Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté, Charlotte Feng Ford, Allison and Warren Kanders, and Ashley Leeds and Christopher Harland.

Additional support is provided by Rebecca and Martin Eisenberg, Susan and Leonard Feinstein, and the Nina and Frank Moore Family Foundation.

Generous endowment support is provided by Lise and Michael Evans, Sueyun and Gene Locks, and Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen.

Curatorial research and travel for this exhibition were funded by an endowment established by Rosina Lee Yue and Bert A. Lies, Jr., MD.

Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined is sponsored by Audi of America. Major support is provided by the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation. Generous support is provided by Jackson Tang. Additional support is provided by Bernard I. Lumpkin and Carmine D. Boccuzzi. Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900–1960 is sponsored by Delta.

The Whitney to Present First U.S. Retrospective of Jimmie Durham

The Whitney Museum of American Art will host the first North American retrospective of artist, performer, poet, essayist, and activist Jimmie Durham (b. 1940), one of the most compelling and multifaceted figures working internationally today. On view from November 3, 2017, to January 28, 2018, Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World features approximately 120 works from 1970 to the present, including sculpture, drawing, collage, printmaking, photography, and video.

Jimmie Durham

Jimmie Durham, Self-Portrait Pretending to Be a Stone Statue of Myself, 2006. Color photograph. Edition of 1 + 1 AP. 31 ¾ × 24 in. (80.7 × 60.9 cm). Collection of fluid archives, Karlsruhe. Courtesy of ZKM Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe.

Durham has, over the past nearly five decades, produced wryly political art, often raising questions about authenticity and making visible the ongoing repercussions of colonialism, both within the U.S. and globally. Frequently working with a combination of natural and found materials, he approaches his subjects with a poetic wit and a potent blend of irony and insight.

The Whitney is delighted to present the work of Jimmie Durham, who has made a singular contribution to contemporary art since the 1970s,” said Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director. “This retrospective provides an opportunity for audiences to gain a deeper understanding of Durham’s expansive practice, or perhaps to discover him for the first time. We are grateful to the Hammer Museum, in particular to director Ann Philbin and curator Anne Ellegood, for organizing this long-overdue retrospective.”

Jimmie Durham was born in 1940 in Houston, Texas, and raised in southwestern Arkansas. In the late 1960s, he enrolled at the École des Beaux-Arts in Geneva, where he worked primarily in performance and sculpture. At this time, he formed an organization called Incomindios, with Indigenous friends from South America, which attempted to coordinate and encourage support for the struggle of Indigenous people throughout the Americas. A lifelong activist, he returned to the U.S. at the end of 1973 during the occupation at Wounded Knee, in South Dakota, and became a full-time organizer for the American Indian Movement (AIM); he would become a member of their Central Council in 1974. That same year AIM established the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and appointed Durham the executive director. Durham relocated to New York City to run the IITC and become the representative of American Indians to the United Nations.

Durham resigned from AIM in 1979 and returned to a focus on art making. He was the director of the Foundation for the Community of Artists in New York from 1981 to 1983 and edited their monthly Art and Artists Newspaper (formerly Artworkers News) from 1982 to 1985. In 1987, Durham moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico, and then in 1994 to Europe, where he has lived in Dublin, Brussels, Marseille, Rome, Berlin, and Naples. Since leaving the U.S., Durham has immersed himself in the culture and history of each adopted home, drawing on the local language, materials, and architecture to reframe his larger political, historical, and philosophical questions. Throughout his travels, he has dryly declared wherever he happens to be—from Mexico City to Berlin to Naples—the “center of the world.

Whitney curator Elisabeth Sussman, who is installing the exhibition at the Whitney together with assistant curator Laura Phipps, noted, “Although Jimmie Durham has lived as an expatriate for decades, his work has remained connected to crucial developments in American art, such as found-object assemblage, appropriation of text and image, institutional critique, performance art, and the politics of representation. This is Durham’s first substantial solo show in the United States in twenty-two years and it’s a rare chance to celebrate his extraordinary accomplishments as an artist and to revel in his wit, his fascination with language, and his remarkable use of materials.

This exhibition, as it has traveled from its previous venues at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, has revived debates, dating back to the early 1990s, over the artist’s claims of Cherokee ancestry. Durham is not recognized as a citizen by any of the Cherokee tribes, which as sovereign nations determine their own membership. Recent discussions of this point have prompted a wider audience to confront important questions regarding tribal sovereignty, and what it means—or does not mean—for an artist to self-identify as being Native American. This exhibition does not attempt to resolve these questions. Rather it contends that Durham’s work—with its singular and vital critique of Western systems of knowledge and power—offers a crucial perspective on the history of American art and life.

Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World was organized by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and curated by Anne Ellegood, senior curator, with MacKenzie Stevens, curatorial assistant. It traveled to the Walker Art Center prior to coming to the Whitney, where its installation is being overseen by Elisabeth Sussman, curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, and assistant curator Laura Phipps. Following the Whitney, the exhibition will travel to the Remai Modern in Saskatoon.

Durham’s exhibition history spans several decades and continents. Recent solo exhibitions include God’s Children, God’s Poems (Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, 2017); Here at the Center (Neue Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, 2015); Venice: Objects, Work and Tourism (Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Venice, 2015); and Various Items and Complaints (Serpentine Gallery, London, 2015). Group shows include Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2014) and Documenta (2012), among many others. A retrospective of his work—A Matter of Life and Death and Singing—was organized by the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp (2012), and a survey of his work from 1994 forward, Pierres rejetées, took place at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2009).

Durham’s works are included in major public collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Tate Modern, London; the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp; the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent; the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; and the Museo Jumex, Mexico City.

Durham’s work is also part of The Whitney’s permanent collection. Self Portrait was included in the Museum’s inaugural show in its downtown home in 2015, America is Hard to See, and in the 1998 exhibition Art at the End of the Century: Selections from the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as in the exhibition The American Century: Art and Culture 1900-2000 (Part II). His work also appeared at the Whitney in the 1993 Biennial, the 2006 Biennial, and the 2014 Biennial. Durham has also co-curated a number of exhibitions, including Ni’ Go Tlunh A Doh Ka (We Are Always Turning Around On Purpose) at the Amelie A. Wallace Gallery, State University of New York Old Westbury, Long Island, New York, in 1986 (co-curated with Jean Fisher); We The People at Artists Space, New York, in 1987 (co-curated with Jean Fisher; special advisors Edgar Heap of Birds and G. Peter Jemison); and The American West, at Compton Verney in Warwickshire, England, in 2005 (co-curated with Richard W. Hill).

An avid essayist and poet, Durham has published many texts in journals such as Artforum, Art Journal, and Third Text. His book of poems, Columbus Day, was published in 1983 by West End Press, Minneapolis. A book of his collected essays, A Certain Lack of Coherence, was published in 1993 by Kala Press. In 2013, Jimmie Durham: Waiting to Be Interrupted, Selected Writings 1993-2012 was published by Mousse Publishing and Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp, and his book of poetry Poems That Do Not Go Together was published by Edition Hansjörg Maye. Continue reading