“Open Plan” Experimental Five-Part Exhibition At The Whitney

Beginning February 26 and running through May 14, 2016, the Whitney Museum of American Art will present Open Plan, an experimental five-part exhibition using the Museum’s dramatic fifth floor as a single open gallery, unobstructed by interior walls. The largest column-free museum exhibition space in New York, the Neil Bluhm Family Galleries measure 18,200 square feet and feature windows with striking views east into the city and west to the Hudson River, making for an expansive and inspiring canvas. Five artists have been invited to present solo projects in response to the space, lasting from a few days to just over two weeks. They include installation and performance artist Andrea Fraser; painter Lucy Dodd; sculptor and earth artist Michael Heizer; jazz composer and performer Cecil Taylor; and video- and Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen.The Whitney Logo

The Whitney’s fifth- floor gallery was conceived as an unparalleled exhibition space to inspire artists and curators, as well as our visitors, with its openness and flexibility,” remarks Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator. “To celebrate the end of our inaugural year downtown, we wanted to reveal this space for the first time in its entirety and give artists the opportunity to respond to the site with new projects or to display work from the collection that we couldn’t have previously shown. The featured artists span a broad range of ages, mediums, and approaches, and we’ve asked them to respond to the space with a light touch and without interior construction in order to lend Open Plan a lively and experimental spirit.”

The consecutive parts of the exhibition are scheduled as follows:

OPEN PLAN: ANDREA FRASER

FEB 26–MAR 13, 2016

Andrea Fraser’s (b. 1965) provocative work spans performance, institutional critique, video, and audience engagement. Open Plan: Andrea Fraser will present her site-specific project, Down the River, which uses audio recorded at a correctional facility to bridge the social, cultural, and geographic divide separating museums from correctional facilities. Since the mid-1970s, the United States has seen a parallel boom in museum and prison construction, with some states, such as New York, recently reversing this trend with prison closures. Fraser’s sound installation seeks to reflect on the parts we play in sustaining these disparate institutions.

Public seminars on Down the River occur daily on the third floor: Monday–Friday at 2 pm; Saturdays and Sundays at 1 pm.

Open Plan: Andrea Fraser is organized by Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator Scott Rothkopf and assistant curator Laura Phipps.Lucy Dodd (b. 1981), installation view of Wuv Shack at David Lewis Gallery, 2015. Courtesy the artist and David Lewis Gallery, New York. Photograph by Jenny Kim.

Lucy Dodd (b. 1981), installation view of Wuv Shack at David Lewis Gallery, 2015. Courtesy the artist and David Lewis Gallery, New York. Photograph by Jenny Kim.

OPEN PLAN: LUCY DODD

MAR 17–MAR 20, 2016

Lucy Dodd (b. 1981) turns the gallery into a site of artistic exploration and live action for her Open Plan presentation. Before the exhibition opens to the public, Dodd will create a new large-scale painting utilizing unusual materials like fermented walnuts, kombucha scoby, hematite, yerba mate, and pigments she has collected in her travels. The new painting will be surrounded by recently made shaped canvases that are intended to evoke sails or waves and respond to the gallery’s river views. By bringing her studio activities into the gallery and inviting musicians to perform, Dodd fosters what she calls “a space of ritual action and improvisation demanding a longer and broader engagement on the part of the audience.”

Open Plan: Lucy Dodd is organized by associate curator Christopher Y. Lew.96.137_heizerm.artist_preferred.v1_2340

Photo Credit: Michael Heizer (b. 1944), Actual Size: Munich Rotary, 1970. Six custom made aluminum projectors with steel stands and six black and white slides mounted between glass, Dimensions variable. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Virginia Dwan 96.137. Photograph © Museum Associates/ LACMA, CA

OPEN PLAN: MICHAEL HEIZER

MAR 25–APR 10, 2016

Michael Heizer’s (b. 1944) large-scale earth works have redefined the parameters of sculpture. He will be represented at the Whitney by his 1970 installation, Actual Size: Munich Rotary, a full-scale photographic documentation of the horizon from inside an 18-foot-deep hole that Heizer dug in the earth in Munich, Germany. Comprised of six black-and-white glass slide projections, six custom-made steel projectors, and six steel pipes with wood platforms, this vast projected work re-images the depression as seen from its center. This is the first time this iconic work in the Whitney’s collection will be shown in New York.Cecil Taylor in rehearsal at the Whitney Museum, November 2015.

Cecil Taylor in rehearsal at the Whitney Museum, November 2015.

OPEN PLAN: CECIL TAYLOR

APR 15–APR 24, 2016

Pianist Cecil Taylor (b. 1929) is one of America’s most innovative and uncompromising living musicians. A pioneer of free jazz whose work draws on a myriad of different musical styles conveyed through radical improvisation, he will take up residence in the fifth-floor gallery along with friends and fellow performers. This residency will feature a series of live performances amid a retrospective environment that will include documentation of Taylor’s career, including videos, audio, notational scores, photographs, poetry, and other ephemera.

Open Plan: Cecil Taylor is organized by curator and curator of performance Jay Sanders and Lawrence Kumpf, artistic director, ISSUE Project Room, with senior curatorial assistant Greta Hartenstein and Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellow Lauren Rosati.Steve McQueen (b. 1969), ​End Credits, 2012. Sequence of digitally scanned files, sound, continuous projection

Steve McQueen (b. 1969), ​End Credits, 2012. Sequence of digitally scanned files, sound, continuous projection

OPEN PLAN: STEVE MCQUEEN

APR 29–MAY 14, 2016

Steve McQueen (b. 1969) is a visual artist and filmmaker, whose films include Hunger, Shame, and 12 Years a Slave, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture. McQueen’s project for Open Plan will center on a newly expanded version of his work End Credits, which presents documents from the FBI file kept on the legendary African-American performer Paul Robeson.

Open Plan: Steve McQueen is organized by Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator Donna De Salvo, with curatorial assistant Christie Mitchell.

Major support for Open Plan is provided by the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation and the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Significant support is provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston and Donald R. Mullen, Jr. Generous support is provided by Diane and Adam E. Max. Additional support is provided by Joseph Rosenwald Varet and Esther Kim Varet, and the Performance Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Matana Roberts Presents Red, White And Blue(S), A Sound Quilt Of Sorts, Featuring Her New Year’s Eve Back Room 12TET

Returning to the Whitney Museum of American Art on New Year’s Eve, Matana Roberts will present a one-time performance of red, white and blue(s), a sound quilt of sorts. Robert’s score, which was composed in response to the Whitney’s new building as well as works from its collection, will be performed by the New Year’s Eve Back Room 12tet, an ensemble created particularly for this one-evening-only event. The members of The New Year’s Eve Back Room 12tet are Matana Roberts, alto saxophone, composition, and electronics; Stuart Bogie, clarinet; Jeff Tobias, alto saxophone; Peter Evans, trumpet; Steve Swell, trombone; Mazz Swift, violin; Daniel Levin, cello; Jessica Pavone, viola; Mary Halvorson, guitar; Gabriel Guerrero, piano; Me’Shell NdegéOcello, bass; Tomas Fujiwara, drums; and Helado Negro, wordspeak and electronics. Special guest DJ Rupture will also perform.

Matana Roberts Presents Red, White And Blue(S), A Sound Quilt Of Sorts, Featuring Her New Year’s Eve Back Room 12TET

Matana Roberts Presents Red, White And Blue(S), A Sound Quilt Of Sorts, Featuring Her New Year’s Eve Back Room 12TET

Over the past decade, Roberts has emerged as one of the most innovative cross-disciplinary sound artists of her generation. A dynamic saxophonist, composer, improviser, and mixed media sound conceptualist, her acclaimed artistic practice aims to expose the mystical roots and the intuitive spirit-raising traditions of American creative expression in her music and art. Her innovative work has forged new conceptual approaches to considering narrativity, history, and political expression within improvisatory structures.

For the December 31 performance, Roberts will also draw inspiration from the life and work of Archibald Motley, whose work is currently on view in Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist through January 17, 2016.

Over the last year Roberts has performed throughout the Whitney’s new building in a series of site-specific engagements, including a roving hard-hat concert through the Museum while it was still under construction, an incantation to inaugurate the building’s opening, a live improvisation which engaged Eva Hesse‘s No Title (1969), a daylong improvisational happening, and a week-long open studio residency in the theater. red, white and blue(s) marks the culmination of this series of performances coalescing into a complex, thoughtful and celebratory consideration of contemporary American art and music.

The event runs from 9 pm to 1 am, doors close at 10:30 pm. Tickets, which are available on www.whitney.org, are $50 ($45 for members, students, and seniors). Festive attire is recommended.

The Whitney Museum OF American Art To Debut Frank Stella: A Retrospective, Opening October 30

The most comprehensive career retrospective in the U.S. to date of the work of Frank Stella, co-organized by The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, will debut at the Whitney this fall. Frank Stella: A Retrospective brings together the artist’s best-known works installed alongside lesser known examples to reveal the extraordinary scope and diversity of his nearly sixty-year career. Approximately 100 works, including icons of major museum and private collections, will be shown. Along with paintings, reliefs, sculptures, and prints, a selection of drawings and maquettes have been included to shed light on Stella’s conceptual and material process. Frank Stella: A Retrospective is organized by Michael Auping, Chief Curator, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, in association with Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, with the involvement of Carrie Springer, Assistant Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

The exhibition will be on view at the Whitney from October 30, 2015 through February 7, 2016, and at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth from April 17 through September 4, 2016; it will subsequently travel to the DeYoung Museum, San Francisco. This will be the inaugural special exhibition and the first career retrospective devoted to a living artist in the Whitney’s new downtown home on Gansevoort Street. It will fill the entire 18,000-square-foot fifth floor—the Museum’s largest gallery for temporary exhibitions. Annabelle Selldorf, Selldorf Architects, is doing the exhibition design for the Whitney installation.

A Stella retrospective presents many challenges,” remarks Auping, “given Frank’s need from the beginning of his career to immediately and continually make new work in response to previous series. And he has never been timid about making large, even monumental, works. The result has been an enormous body of work represented by many different series. Our goal has been to summarize without losing the raw texture of his many innovations.”

It’s not merely the length of his career, it is the intensity of his work and his ability to reinvent himself as an artist over and over again over six decades that make his contribution so important,” said Weinberg. “Frank is a radical innovator who has, from the beginning, absorbed the lessons of art history and then remade the world on his own artistic terms. He is a singular American master and we are thrilled to be celebrating his astonishing accomplishment.

Frank Stella.   Die Fahne hoch!,   1959.  Enamel on canvas, 121 5/8 x 72 13/16 in.  Whitney  Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Schwartz and purchase, With funds from the John I.H. Baur Purchase Fund; the Charles and Anita Blatt Fund; Peter M. Brant; B.H. Friedman ; the Gilman Foundation, Inc.; Susan Morse Hilles; The Lauder Foundation;  Frances and Sydney Lewis; the Albert A. List Fund; Philip Morris Incorporated; Sandra Payson;  Mr. and Mrs. Albrecht Saalfied; Mrs. Percy Uris; Warner Communications, Inc. and the National Endowment for the Arts  75.22  © 2014 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Frank Stella. Die Fahne hoch!, 1959. Enamel on canvas, 121 5/8 x 72 13/16 in.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene M. Schwartz and purchase,
With funds from the John I.H. Baur Purchase Fund; the Charles and Anita Blatt Fund; Peter M. Brant;
B.H. Friedman ; the Gilman Foundation, Inc.; Susan Morse Hilles; The Lauder Foundation;
Frances and Sydney Lewis; the Albert A. List Fund; Philip Morris Incorporated; Sandra Payson;
Mr. and Mrs. Albrecht Saalfied; Mrs. Percy Uris; Warner Communications, Inc. and the National
Endowment for the Arts 75.22 © 2014 Frank Stella / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Born in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1936, Frank Stella attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and then Princeton University, where he studied art history and painting. In college, he produced a number of sophisticated paintings that demonstrated his understanding of the various vocabularies that had brought abstract painting into international prominence. After graduating in 1958, Stella moved to New York and achieved almost immediate fame with his Black Paintings (1958–60), which were included in The Museum of Modern Art’s seminal exhibition Sixteen Americans in 1959–60.

The Leo Castelli Gallery in New York held Stella’s first one-person show in 1962. The Museum of Modern Art, under William Rubin’s stewardship, presented his first retrospective only a few years later, in 1970, when Stella was only thirty-four years old. A second retrospective was held at MoMA in 1987. Since then, Stella has been the subject of countless exhibitions throughout the world, including a major retrospective in Wolfsburg in 2012. Frank Stella: A Retrospective is the first survey of the artist’s career in the U.S. since 1987. He was appointed the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University in 1983. “Working Space,” his provocative lecture series (later published as a book), addresses the issue of pictorial space in postmodern art. Stella has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the 2009 National Medal of Arts and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award from the International Sculpture Center, as well as the Isabella and Theodor Dalenson Lifetime Achievement Award from Americans for the Arts (2011) and the National Artist Award at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Aspen (2015).

Frank Stella, Gobba, zoppa e collotorto, 1985. Oil, urethane enamel, fluorescent alkyd, acrylic, and printing ink on etched magnesium and aluminum. 137 x 120 1/8 x 34 3/8 in. (348 x 305 x 87.5 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize Fund; Ada Turnbull Hertle Endowment 1986.93. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Frank Stella, Gobba, zoppa e collotorto, 1985. Oil, urethane enamel, fluorescent alkyd, acrylic, and printing ink on etched magnesium and aluminum. 137 x 120 1/8 x 34 3/8 in. (348 x 305 x 87.5 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize Fund; Ada Turnbull Hertle Endowment 1986.93. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Throughout his career, Stella has challenged the boundaries of painting and accepted notions of style. Though his early work allied him with the emerging minimalist approach, Stella’s style has evolved to become more complex and dynamic over the years as he has continued his investigation into the nature of abstract painting.

Adam Weinberg and Marla Price, Director of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, note in the directors’ foreword to the catalogue, “Abstract art constitutes the major, and in many ways, defining artistic statement of the twentieth century and it remains a strong presence in this century. Many artists have played a role in its development, but there are a few who stand out in terms of both their innovations and perseverance. Frank Stella is one of those. As institutions devoted to the history and continued development of contemporary art, we are honored to present this tribute to one of the greatest abstract painters of our time.

The exhibition begins with rarely seen early works, such as East Broadway(1958), from the collection of Addison Gallery of American Art, which show Stella’s absorption of Abstract Expressionism and predilections for colors and composition that would appear throughout the artist’s career.

Stella’s highly acclaimed Black Paintings follow. Their black stripes executed with enamel house paint were a critical step in the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Minimalism. The exhibition includes such major works as Die Fahne hoch! (1959), a masterpiece from the Whitney’s own collection, and The Marriage of Reason and Squalor II (1959) from The Museum of Modern Art’s collection. A selection of the artist’s Aluminum and Copper Paintings of 1960–61, featuring metallic paint and shaped canvases, further establish Stella’s key role in the development of American Minimalism.

Even with his early success, Stella continued to experiment in order to advance the language of abstraction. The chronological presentation of Stella’s work tracks the artist’s exploration of the relationship between color, structure, and abstract illusionism, beginning with his Benjamin Moore series and Concentric Square Paintings of the early 1960s and 70s—including the masterpiece Jasper’s Dilemma (1962). In his Dartmouth, Notched V, and Running V paintings, Stella combines often shocking color with complex shaped canvases that mirror the increasingly dynamic movement of his painted bands. These were followed by the even more radically shaped Irregular Polygon Paintings, such as Chocorua IV (1966) from the Hood Museum, with internally contrasting geometric forms painted in vibrant fluorescent hues; and the monumental Protractor Paintings, such as Harran II (1967) from the Guggenheim‘s collection, composed of curvilinear forms with complex chromatic variations. Continue reading

America Is Hard to See: Film & Video Screenings at The Whitney Museum of American Art

As part of the landmark exhibition America Is Hard to See, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents a screening series showcasing films and videos from the Museum’s collection by approximately fifty artists. Programs screen on select Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays in the Susan and John Hess Family Theater on the Museum’s third floor. Special Saturday evening events feature expanded cinema performances and rare screenings of works on film.

SCREENING SCHEDULE

Nayland Blake (b. 1960), still from Negative Bunny, 1994. Video, color, sound, 30 min. looped. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Lin Lougheed  2014.268 © Nayland Blake 1994; image courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

Nayland Blake (b. 1960), still from Negative Bunny, 1994. Video, color, sound, 30 min. looped. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Lin Lougheed 2014.268 © Nayland Blake 1994; image courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, New York

Normal Love
July 3, 11 am
August 22, 7 pm
September 6, 4 pm

In Jack Smith’s Flaming Creatures (1962–63), David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly (1986–87), Nayland Blake’s Negative Bunny (1994), and Kenneth Anger’s Mouse Heaven (2005), intense desire is often expressed through indirect means, including role-playing and emulation or appropriation of popular culture.

Jack Smith  (b. 1932, Colombus, OH; d. 1989; New York, NY), Flaming Creatures, 1962–63. 16mm film, black‑and‑white, sound, 43 min. Gift of Gladstone Gallery, New York 2010.209

David Wojnarowicz (b. 1954, Red Bank, NJ; d. 1992, New York, NY), A Fire In My Belly (Film In Progress) and A Fire In My Belly (Excerpt), 1986–87. Super 8mm film transferred to video, black‑and‑white and color, silent, 13:06 min. and 7 min. Purchase with funds from the Director’s Discretionary Fund 2012.4

Nayland Blake (b. 1960, New York, NY), Negative Bunny, 1994. Video, color, sound; 30 min. Gift of Lin Lougheed 2014.268

Kenneth Anger (b. 1927, Santa Monica, CA), Mouse Heaven, 2005. Video, color, sound; 10 min. Gift of the artist 2006.226

Mike Kelley (1954-2012), still from Day Is Done, 2005-2006. Video, color, sound; 169 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Randy Slifka  2009.128 © Estate of Mike Kelley; Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Mike Kelley (1954-2012), still from Day Is Done, 2005-2006. Video, color, sound; 169 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Randy Slifka 2009.128 © Estate of Mike Kelley; Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Day Is Done
July 3, 2 pm
August 16, 11 am
September 19, 1 pm

Mike Kelley based his 2005–6 Day is Done on a series of high school yearbook photographs of “extracurricular activities,” which Kelley transformed into a fractured, quasi-narrative musical that cycles through themes such as personal trauma, the structure of the institution, repressed memory, mass cultural ritual, and adolescence.

Mike Kelley (b. 1954, Detroit, MI; d. 2012, South Pasadena, CA) Day Is Done, 2005–6. Video, color, sound; 169 min. Purchase with funds from Randy Slifka 2009.128

Matt Saunders (b. 1975), still from Century Rolls, 2012. Video, color; 10:45 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee 2013.81 © 2015 Matt Saunders

Matt Saunders (b. 1975), still from Century Rolls, 2012. Video, color; 10:45 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee 2013.81 © 2015 Matt Saunders

The Art of Vision
July 3, 8 pm
August 21, 11 am
September 19, 5 pm

The program includes Julie Murray’s Untitled (light) (2002), Sandra Gibson’s NYC Flower Film (2003), Stan Brakhage’s Chinese Series (2003), Bryan Frye’s Oona’s Veil (2000), Luis Recoder’s Linea (2002), and Matt Saunders’s Century Rolls (2012). Examining the material and formal conditions of film, video, and animation, these artists build on the tradition of American avant-garde filmmaking. On September 19, Sandra Gibson’s NYC Flower Film will be screened on film, and Gibson will be present.

Brian Frye (b. 1974, San Francisco, CA), Oona’s Veil, 2000. 16mm film, black and white, sound; 11 min. Purchase with funds from the Film and Video Committee 2002.160

Julie Murray (b. 1961, Dublin, Ireland), Untitled (light), 2002. 16mm film, color, sound; 5 min. Purchase with funds from the Film and Video Committee 2004.46

Luis Recoder (b. 1971, San Francisco, CA), Linea, 2002. Two channel 16mm film, black and white, silent; 18 min. Purchase with funds from the Film and Video Committee 2005.23

Sandra Gibson (b. 1968, Portland, OR), NYC Flower Film, 2003. Super 8 film transferred to video, color, silent; 5 min. Purchase with funds from George Kaufman 2004.642

Stan Brakhage (b. 1933, Kansas City, MO; d. 2003; Victoria, Canada), Chinese Series, 2003. 16mm film, color, silent; 2 min. Purchase, with funds from the Orentreich Family Foundation  2005.119

Matt Saunders (b. 1975; Tacoma, WA) Century Rolls, 2012. Video, color, silent; 10:45 min. Purchase with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee 2013.81

Maya Deren (1917-1961), still from At Land, 1944. 16mm film, black-and-white, silent, 15 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee  2015.45 © Estate of Maya Deren; image courtesy Anthology Film Archives

Maya Deren (1917-1961), still from At Land, 1944. 16mm film, black-and-white, silent, 15 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee 2015.45 © Estate of Maya Deren; image courtesy Anthology Film Archives

Dream States
July 4, 11 am
August 16, 3 pm
September 6, 2 pm

Made in the 1940s, Maya Deren’s At Land (1944) and Hans Richter’s Dreams that Money Can Buy (1947) draw on dream imagery and surrealism to produce non-narrative experimental cinema.

Maya Deren (b. 1917, Kiev, Ukraine; d. 1961, New York, NY) At Land, 1944. 16mm film transferred to video, black-and-white, silent; 15 min. Purchase with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee  2015.45

Hans Richter (b. 1888, Berlin, Germany; d. 1976, Minusio, Switzerland) Dreams That Money Can Buy, 1943. 16mm film transferred to video, color, sound; 85 min. Purchase with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee  T.2014.151

Yvonne Rainer (b. 1934), still from Five Easy Pieces, 1966-69. 8mm and 16mm film transferred to video, black-and-white, silent; 48 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo in honor of Ron Clark and The Independent Study Program  2011.91 © Yvonne Rainer; courtesy Video Data Bank, www.vdb.org

Yvonne Rainer (b. 1934), still from Five Easy Pieces, 1966-69. 8mm and 16mm film transferred to video, black-and-white, silent; 48 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo in honor of Ron Clark and The Independent Study Program 2011.91 © Yvonne Rainer; courtesy Video Data Bank, http://www.vdb.org

Inner and Outer Territories
July 4, 3 pm
August 21, 2 pm
September 6, 11 am

The social and psychological space presented in Yvonne Rainer’s Five Easy Pieces (1966–69) and David Lamelas’s The Desert People (1974) is set against the landscape of the deserts of the American West represented in Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels (1978) and Walter De Maria’s Hardcore (1969).

Yvonne Rainer (b. 1934, San Francisco, CA), Five Easy Pieces, 1966–69. 8mm and 16mm film transferred to video, black‑and‑white, silent, 48 min. Purchase with funds from Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo in honor of Ron Clark and The Independent Study Program  2011.91

Walter De Maria (b. 1935, Albany, CA; d. 2013, Los Angeles, CA), Hardcore, 1969. Two‑channel 16mm film transferred to video, color, sound; 28 min. Gift of Virginia Dwan  94.79

David Lamelas (b. 1946, Buenos Aires, Argentina), The Desert People, 1974. 16mm film, color, sound; 52 min. Gift of the artist  2001.238

Nancy Holt (b. 1938, Worcester, MA; d. 2014, New York, NY), Sun Tunnels, 1978. 16mm film transferred to video, color, sound, 28:31 min. Purchase with funds from Cristina Enriquez‑Bocobo in honor of Cody Smith  2010.142

Howardena Pindell (b. 1943), still from Free, White and 21, 1980. Video, color, sound; 12:15 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee  2015.35 © Howardena Pindell

Howardena Pindell (b. 1943), still from Free, White and 21, 1980. Video, color, sound; 12:15 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee 2015.35 © Howardena Pindell

Radical Takes
July 4, 6 pm
August 23, 11 am
August 30, 4 pm

Made at the height of the feminist movement, Howardena Pindell’s Free, White and 21 (1980), Cynthia Maughan’s sixteen selected videos (1973–78), and Suzanne Lacy’s Learn Where the Meat Comes From (1976) present frank, derisive, and at times humorous commentary on identity, including female subjectivity, and—in Pindell’s case—race.

Howardena Pindell (b. 1943, Philadelphia, PA), Free, White and 21, 1980. Video, color, sound; 12:15 min. Purchase with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee  2015.35

Cynthia Maughan (b. 1949, Bell, CA), Scar/Scarf, 1973–74; Arteries and Veins, 1974; Frozen & Buried Alive, 1974–75; Coffin from Toothpicks, 1975; Statue, 1975; Razor Necklace, 1975; The Way Underpants Really Are, 1975; Chart of the Solar Systems Showing Gods Home on Venus, 1975; Monster Voice, 1975; Candy Mexican Hats, 1977; The Four Horsemen, 1977; Tsetse Fly, 1977–78; On Being in Love, 1977–78; I Tell Three Cats About Jail, 1977–78; Tamale Pie, 1978; Calcium Pills, 1978. All: Video, sound; running times variable. Purchased with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee  2015.1.1–16

Suzanne Lacy (b. 1945, Wasco, CA) Learn Where the Meat Comes From, 1976, from the series Anatomy Lessons. Video, color, sound; 14:20 min. Purchase with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee  2014.142

Kevin Jerome Everson (b. 1965), still from Act One: Betty and the Candle, 2010. 16mm film transferred to video, black-and-white, silent, 11:25 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee  2012.17 © Kevin Jerome Everson; courtesy the artist, Tribolite-Arts DAC, and Picture Palace Pictures

Kevin Jerome Everson (b. 1965), still from Act One: Betty and the Candle, 2010. 16mm film transferred to video, black-and-white, silent, 11:25 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee 2012.17 © Kevin Jerome Everson; courtesy the artist, Tribolite-Arts DAC, and Picture Palace Pictures

Lyrical Observations
July 5, 11 am
August 14, 7 pm
August 29, 11 am

Robert Beavers’s Sotiros (1975–96), Kevin Jerome Everson’s Act One: Betty and the Candle (2010), Anna Gaskell’s SOSW Ballet (2011), and David Hartt’s Stray Light (2011) are intimate observations that become poetic—sometimes lyrical, sometimes pensive—in their sustained duration.

Robert Beavers (b. 1949, Brookline, MA), Sotiros, 1975–96. 35mm film, color, sound; 25 min. Purchase with funds from the Film and Video Committee and preserved with funds from the National Film Preservation Foundation  2003.90

Kevin Jerome Everson (b. 1965, Mansfield, OH), Act One: Betty and the Candle, 2010. 16mm film transferred to video, black-and-white, silent, 11:25 min. Purchase with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee  2012.17

Anna Gaskell (b. 1969, Des Moines, IA), SOSW Ballet, 2011. 35mm film, color, sound; 27:04 min. Purchase with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee  2012.20

David Hartt (b. 1967, Montreal, Canada), Stray Light, 2011. Video, color, sound; 12:12 min. Purchase with funds from the Film, Video, and New Media Committee  2013.80

Liz Magic Laser (b. 1981), still from I Feel Your Pain, 2011. Video, color, sound; 180 min., with poster. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo and The Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, Inc. in honor of Ron Clark, Director, Independent Study Program  2013.14 © Liz Magic Laser 2011. Performa Commission. Featuring Annie Fox and Rafael Jordan. Photograph by Yola Monakhov

Liz Magic Laser (b. 1981), still from I Feel Your Pain, 2011. Video, color, sound; 180 min., with poster. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo and The Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, Inc. in honor of Ron Clark, Director, Independent Study Program 2013.14 © Liz Magic Laser 2011. Performa Commission. Featuring Annie Fox and Rafael Jordan. Photograph by Yola Monakhov

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Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist at The Whitney Museum of American Art

The most eye-opening take-away I got from attending the preview of (both) the new Whitney Museum of American Art in downtown Manhattan (99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014, (212) 570-3600, info@whitney.org) and the inaugural exhibit, America is Hard to See, is, as much as I love art (and how much I have read on the subject over the years), it was astonishing how much I DID NOT know.

We all know Jackson Pollack, but how much do we know about his wife, Lee Krasner, an accomplished artist in her own right whose own career often was seriously compromised by her role as supportive wife to Pollock, arguably the one of the most significant postwar American painter, as well as by the male-dominated art world? We know Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Georgia O’Keefe, but we should also know more about Arthur Dove, Imogene Cunningham, Florine Stettheimer, James Daugherty, Eldzier Cortor, Raphael Montanez Ortiz, Eva Hesse, Lari Pitmman, and Nam June Park, and so many others, all among the 400 artists represented in more than 600 works of arts in “America is Hard to See“.

The Whitney Museum of American Art was borne out of sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney’s advocacy on behalf of living American artists. At the beginning of the twentieth century, artists with new ideas found it nearly impossible to exhibit or sell their work in the United States. Recognizing the obstacles these artists faced, Mrs. Whitney began purchasing and showing their work, thereby becoming the leading patron of American art from 1907 until her death in 1942.

In 1914, Mrs. Whitney established The Whitney Studio in Greenwich Village, where she presented exhibitions by living American artists whose work had been disregarded by the traditional

Archibald John Motley Jr. (1891-1981)

Archibald John Motley Jr. (1891-1981)

academies. By 1929 she had assembled a collection of more than 500 works, which she offered with an endowment to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. When the offer was refused, she set up her own museum, one with a new and radically different mandate: to focus exclusively on the art and artists of this country. The Whitney Museum of American Art was founded in 1930, and opened in 1931 on West Eighth Street in Greenwich Village.

Since its inception in 1931, the Whitney has championed American art and artists by assembling a rich permanent collection and featuring a rigorous and varied schedule of exhibition programs, which is why the upcoming exhibition, Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist, (October 2, 2015–January 17, 2016) is so important. It introduces us to yet another artist we should know and whose work defined the life and times in America.

 Archibald J. Motley Jr., Blues, (detail), 1929. Oil on canvas, 36 x 42 inches (91.4 x 106.7 cm). Collection of Mara Motley, MD, and Valerie Gerrard Browne. Image courtesy of the Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Illinois. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Blues, (detail), 1929. Oil on canvas, 36 x 42 inches (91.4 x 106.7 cm). Collection of Mara Motley, MD, and Valerie Gerrard Browne. Image courtesy of the Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Illinois. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Archibald Motley was one of the most important figures associated with the Harlem Renaissance (although he never lived in Harlem) and is best known as both a master colorist and a radical interpreter of urban culture.First shown at the Nasher Museum at Duke University in early 2014 and organized and curated by Professor Richard J. Powell (John Spencer Bassett Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies at Duke University), Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist is the first full-scale survey of his paintings in two decades, featuring mesmerizing portraits and vibrant cultural scenes painted between 1919 to 1961. The installation at the Whitney Museum will be overseen by Carter E. Foster, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawing.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Barbecue, (detail), c. 1934. Oil on canvas, 39 x 44 inches (99.1 x 111.76 cm). Collection of the Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Barbecue, (detail), c. 1934. Oil on canvas, 39 x 44 inches (99.1 x 111.76 cm). Collection of the Howard University Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

 Archibald J. Motley Jr., Tongues (Holy Rollers), (detail), 1929. Oil on canvas, 29.25 x 36.125 inches (74.3 x 91.8 cm). Collection of Mara Motley, MD, and Valerie Gerrard Browne. Image courtesy of the Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Illinois. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Tongues (Holy Rollers), (detail), 1929. Oil on canvas, 29.25 x 36.125 inches (74.3 x 91.8 cm). Collection of Mara Motley, MD, and Valerie Gerrard Browne. Image courtesy of the Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Illinois. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

The exhibition will offer an unprecedented opportunity to carefully examine Motley’s dynamic depictions of modern life in his home town, Chicago, as well as in Jazz Age Paris and Mexico. Specifically, it will highlight his unique use of both expressionism and social realism and will resituate this underexposed artist within a broader, art historical context. The exhibition will be presented in the sky-lit eighth floor galleries of the new Whitney during its inaugural year.

Motley is one of the most significant yet least visible 20th-century artists, despite the broad appeal of his paintings. Many of his most important portraits and cultural scenes remain in private collections; few museums have had the opportunity to acquire his work. With a survey that spans 40 years, Archibald Motley introduces the artist’s canvases of riotous color to wider audiences and reveals his continued impact on art history.

According to Powell in a previous interview, ” There was a major retrospective of Archibald Motley that was done in the early 1990s by the Chicago Historical Society, now known as the Chicago History Museum. Why are we looking at him again? The show that was done in 1991 was a broad introduction to his art and career. It was less focused and broad and general. I had a chance to see that show and enjoyed it immensely. But as we have moved beyond that moment and into the 21st century and as we have moved into the era of post-modernism, particularly that category post-black, I really felt that it would be worth revisiting Archibald Motley to look more critically at his work, to investigate his wry sense of humor, his use of irony in his paintings, his interrogations of issues around race and identity.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Mending Socks, 1924. Oil on canvas, 43.875 x 40 inches (111.4 x 101.6 cm). Collection of the Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Burton Emmett Collection, 58.1.2801. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Mending Socks, 1924. Oil on canvas, 43.875 x 40 inches (111.4 x 101.6 cm). Collection of the Ackland Art Museum, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Burton Emmett Collection, 58.1.2801. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Archibald John Motley, Junior (September 2, 1891, New Orleans, Louisiana – January 16, 1981, Chicago, Illinois) was an American painter. He studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago during the 1910s and is most famous for his colorful chronicling of the African-American experience during the 1920s and 1930s, and considered one of the major contributors to the Harlem Renaissance.

Archibald J. Motley, Jr., Black Belt, (detail), 1934. Oil on canvas, 33 x 40.5 inches (83.8 x 102.9 cm). Collection of the Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Archibald J. Motley, Jr., Black Belt, (detail), 1934. Oil on canvas, 33 x 40.5 inches (83.8 x 102.9 cm). Collection of the Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Unlike many other Harlem Renaissance artists, Archibald Motley, Jr. never lived in Harlem—-he was born in New Orleans and spent the majority of his life in Chicago. His was the only black family in a fairly affluent, white, European neighborhood. His social class enabled him to have the benefit of classical training at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was awarded the Harmon Foundation Award in 1928, and then became the first African-American to have a one-man exhibit in New York City. He sold twenty-two out of the twenty-six exhibited paintings–an impressive feat for an emerging black artist.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Self-Portrait (Myself at Work), 1933. Oil on canvas, 57.125 x 45.25 inches (145.1 x 114.9 cm). Collection of Mara Motley, MD, and Valerie Gerrard Browne. Image courtesy of the Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Illinois. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Self-Portrait (Myself at Work), 1933. Oil on canvas, 57.125 x 45.25 inches (145.1 x 114.9 cm). Collection of Mara Motley, MD, and Valerie Gerrard Browne. Image courtesy of the Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Illinois. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

In 1927 he had applied for a Guggenheim Fellowship and was denied, but he reapplied and won the fellowship in 1929. He studied in France for a year, and chose not to extend his fellowship another six months. While many contemporary artists looked back to Africa for inspiration, Motley was inspired by the great Renaissance masters available at the Louvre. He found in the artwork there a formal sophistication and maturity that could give depth to his own work, particularly in the Dutch painters and the genre images of Delacroix, Hals, and Rembrandt. Motley’s portraits take the conventions of the Western tradition and update them–allowing for black bodies, specifically black female bodies, a space in a history that had traditionally excluded them.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Brown Girl After the Bath, 1931. Oil on canvas, 48.25 x 36 inches (122.6 x 91.4 cm). Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio. Gift of an anonymous donor, 2007.015. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., Brown Girl After the Bath, 1931. Oil on canvas, 48.25 x 36 inches (122.6 x 91.4 cm). Collection of the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio. Gift of an anonymous donor, 2007.015. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., The Octoroon Girl, 1925. Oil on canvas, 38 x 30.25 inches (96.5 x 76.8 cm). Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, New York. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., The Octoroon Girl, 1925. Oil on canvas, 38 x 30.25 inches (96.5 x 76.8 cm). Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, New York. © Valerie Gerrard Browne.

Motley was incredibly interested in skin tone, and did numerous portraits documenting women of varying blood quantities (“octoroon,” “quadroon,” “mulatto”). These portraits celebrate skin tone as something diverse, inclusive, and pluralistic. The also demonstrate an understanding that these categorizations become synonymous with public identity and influence one’s opportunities in life. It is often difficult if not impossible to tell what kind of racial mixture the subject has without referring to the title. These physical markers of blackness, then, are unstable and unreliable, and Motley exposed that difference.

As Powell later reiterated, “Motley [was] very attuned to the racial politics of his time. He knows that African Americans during this time struggled around issues of class and race and identity and that he can get a rise out of audiences and viewers when he explores a range of subjects that might be viewed by some people as stereotypic. He is consciously doing this. He is willfully doing this to get people to engage with the work, but also ultimately to move beyond a simplistic representation or a simplistic sense of what black people should or shouldn’t look like. He wants to mix things up to make you come to terms with the richness of the subject as it is represented from one painting to another.” Continue reading

WHITNEY INAUGURATES NEW EMERGING ARTIST SERIES, PRESENTING U.S. DEBUTS OF JARED MADERE, RACHEL ROSE, AND SOPHIA AL-MARIA

In conjunction with the opening of its new building in the Meatpacking District, the Whitney Museum of American Art reaffirms its commitment to young and emerging artists with an ongoing series dedicated to presenting their debut solo exhibitions in the United States. To inaugurate this new initiative, the Museum has announced that three young artists, Jared Madere (b. 1986), Rachel Rose (b. 1986), and Sophia Al-Maria (b. 1983), will receive their first one-person exhibitions in the country over the next year. Since its founding in 1930, the Whitney has had a long and consistent engagement with living artists, often presenting work early in their careers in the Breuer building’s Lobby Gallery or at the Museum’s former Altria satellite branch (1983–2008). With this new emerging series, the Museum builds upon its legacy of introducing upcoming artists to a broader public. In addition, the artists will work closely with the Whitney’s curatorial staff, and will be invited to fully explore the flexible nature of the exhibition spaces in the Museum’s dynamic new building.

Associate curator Christopher Y. Lew, who is organizing all three shows, stated, “The Whitney has had a long tradition of supporting emerging artists which goes back to the Lobby Gallery exhibitions at the Breuer building in the late 1960s. We want to provide a platform for emerging artists at this crucial point in their careers and present to a broad audience the many kinds of new art being made today.

The three emerging artists to receive their first U.S. solo exhibitions follow:

Jared Madere
October 16, 2015–January 3, 2016

newspaper, wigs, flowers, blood, toilet, frozen peas, chair, coat hanger; dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and David Lewis Gallery. image courtesy Le Magasin Grenoble

Jared Madere (b. 1986), Untitled (detail), 2015. newspaper, wigs, flowers, blood, toilet, frozen peas, chair, coat hanger; dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and David Lewis Gallery. image courtesy Le Magasin Grenoble

Jared Madere (b. 1986), who is based in New York, will create a new installation in the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery on the first floor, which is free to the public. Madere primarily creates installation-based works featuring disparate materials such as salt, flowers, foodstuffs, and plastic tarps that are assembled and aggregated in a manner that insists on their material connections to society, economics, industry, and human emotion. For Madere, the meanings and associations of objects are never stripped away—floral arrangements can point to longing or sadness and a burnt coat is imbued with isolation and dejection. Madere has participated in numerous exhibitions at venues including David Lewis, New York; Bortolami Gallery, New York; Michael Thibault Gallery, Los Angeles; Croy Nielsen, Berlin; and Le Magasin, Grenoble, France; and he is also the founder of Bed-Stuy Love Affair, an artist-run gallery focused on emerging art.

Rachel Rose
October 30, 2015–February 7, 2016

Rachel Rose (b. 1986), still from A Minute Ago, 2014. HD video, 8:43 min. Courtesy Pilar Corrias, London

Rachel Rose (b. 1986), still from A Minute Ago, 2014. HD video, 8:43 min. Courtesy Pilar Corrias, London

Based in New York, Rachel Rose (b. 1986) is known for her striking video installations that deftly merge moving images and sound with nuanced environments. Her video and installations address how we define mortality and her subjects range from zoos and a robotics perception lab, to Philip Johnson’s Glass House, the American Revolutionary War and 19th century park design. She anchors these sites in a range of perspectives on death—from our vulnerability to catastrophe to the impact of history on our lifespan. She investigates specific sites and ideas by connecting them to broader, related subject matter. Rose’s presentation in the Whitney’s fifth-floor Kaufman Gallery will physically engage with the architecture of the Museum’s new Renzo Piano–designed building. Using her own footage and found material, Rose addresses the ubiquity of images and how it generates meaning in contemporary society. Rachel Rose lives and works in New York. In addition to her forthcoming solo exhibitions at The Whitney Museum of American Art, she will helm solo shows at Castello di Rivoli, Frieze London,  and The Aspen Art Museum.

Sophia Al-Maria
Summer 2016

Sophia Al Maria (b. 1983), still from Between Distant Bodies, 2013. Video Installation on 2 cuboglass TVs. Courtesy the artist and The Third Line

Sophia Al Maria (b. 1983), still from Between Distant Bodies, 2013. Video Installation on 2 cuboglass TVs. Courtesy the artist and The Third Line

Sophia Al-Maria (b. 1983) is an artist, writer, and filmmaker who studied comparative literature at the American University in Cairo, and aural and visual cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London. For the past few years, she has been carrying out research around the concept of Gulf Futurism. Al Marie is part of an emerging generation of international artists who are mining the intersections of technology, culture, and identity. Her primary interests are around the isolation of individuals via technology and reactionary Islam, the corrosive elements of consumerism and industry and the erasure of history and the blinding approach of a future no one is ready for. She explores these ideas with certain guidebooks and ideas including but not limited to, Zizek’s The Desert of the Unreal, As-Sufi’s Islamic Book of the Dead, as well as imagery from Islamic eschatology, post humanism and the global mythos of Science Fiction.

In 2016, she will premiere a new video at the Whitney, inspired by the Gruen Transfer, a phenomenon in which a controlled environment—combined with visual and auditory stimuli—is used to distract and manipulate consumers. Her work has been exhibited at the Gwangju Biennale, the New Museum in New York, and the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London. Her writing has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Five Dials, Triple Canopy and Bidoun. Her first solo exhibition, Virgin with a Memory, was presented at Cornerhouse, Manchester, in 2014 and her memoir, The Girl Who Fell to Earth, was published by Harper Perennial in 2012.  She currently lives and works in Doha, Qatar.

 

 

FIRST LADY MICHELLE OBAMA TO ATTEND WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART DEDICATION CEREMONY

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama will be the special guest (and speaker) at the Dedication Ceremony and Official Ribbon-Cutting for the new downtown New York City home of the Whitney Museum of American Art (99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY 10014) on Thursday, April 30, 2015, at 11 am. The Whitney’s new building returns the Museum to downtown Manhattan where it was founded in 1930 by artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. The 220,000-square-foot building in the Meatpacking District doubles the Museum’s exhibition space, enabling the Whitney to present its innovative exhibitions and programs in the context of the world’s foremost collection of twentieth-century and contemporary American art. The building opens to the public on Friday, May 1, 2015.

A view of the building from the High Line, November 2014. Photograph by Timothy Schenck

A view of the building from the High Line, November 2014. Photograph by Timothy Schenck

A view of the High Line and the building’s eastern face, December 2014. Photograph by Ed Lederman

A view of the High Line and the building’s eastern face, December 2014. Photograph by Ed Lederman

The new building viewed from across the Hudson River, October 2014. Photograph by Timothy Schenck

The new building viewed from across the Hudson River, October 2014. Photograph by Timothy Schenck

Other distinguished guests and speakers will include Bill de Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York; Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown Director, Whitney Museum of American Art; Renzo Piano, architect; Chairman and Founding Partner, Renzo Piano Building WorkshopRobert J. Hurst, Co-Chairman, Whitney Board of Trustees; Brooke Garber Neidich, Co-Chairman, Whitney Board of Trustees; Neil G. Bluhm, President, Whitney Board of Trustees and Flora Miller Biddle, Honorary Chairman, Whitney Board of Trustees, and granddaughter of Museum founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Other participants will include Matana Roberts, composer and alto saxophonist, performing a commissioned musical work, Incantation, The Wooster Group, renowned experimental theater company, performing the ribbon-cutting, and teens from the Whitney’s Youth Insights Program. Admittance to the ceremony is by invitation only but a live webcast will be available to the public at whitney.org/Dedication.

The Meatpacking District is a twenty-square-block neighborhood on the far West Side of Manhattan. Surrounding the meatpacking plants just north of Gansevoort Street are some of New York’s most notable restaurants, bars, fashion boutiques, clubs, and hotels. The neighborhood is bordered to the north and east by Chelsea, renowned for its art galleries, cultural organizations, and educational institutions. To the south is the West Village and its nineteenth-century townhouses, charming streets, and unique shops. To the west is the Hudson River. (Photography by Timothy Schenck)

The Meatpacking District is a twenty-square-block neighborhood on the far West Side of Manhattan. Surrounding the meatpacking plants just north of Gansevoort Street are some of New York’s most notable restaurants, bars, fashion boutiques, clubs, and hotels. The neighborhood is bordered to the north and east by Chelsea, renowned for its art galleries, cultural organizations, and educational institutions. To the south is the West Village and its nineteenth-century townhouses, charming streets, and unique shops. To the west is the Hudson River. (Photography by Timothy Schenck)

Situated between the High Line and the Hudson River in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, the new building will vastly increase the Whitney’s exhibition and programming space, offering the most expansive display ever of its unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art.

Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph by Ed Lederman

Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph by Ed Lederman

The High Line is New York City’s newest and most unique public park. Located thirty feet above street level on a 1930s freight railway, the High Line runs from Gansevoort Street  in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street in Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen. It features an integrated landscape combining meandering concrete pathways with naturalistic plantings.

The High Line is New York City’s newest and most unique public park. Located thirty feet above street level on a 1930s freight railway, the High Line runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 34th Street in Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen. It features an integrated landscape combining meandering concrete pathways with naturalistic plantings.

The fifth floor gallery’s east-facing window, seen from below, October 2014. Photograph by Timothy Schenck

The fifth floor gallery’s east-facing window, seen from below, October 2014. Photograph by Timothy Schenck

schenck-whitney-2013_10_30-dsc_5758_800_740_740

The new building in the evening, October 2014. Photograph by Timothy Schenck

The new building in the evening, October 2014. Photograph by Timothy Schenck

Workers constructing the exterior stairs, December 2014. Photograph by Timothy Schenck

Workers constructing the exterior stairs, December 2014. Photograph by Timothy Schenck

Upclose exterior view of the (new) Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District.  Photograph by Ed Lederman

Upclose exterior view of the (new) Whitney Museum of American Art in the Meatpacking District. Photograph by Ed Lederman

Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph © Nic Lehoux

Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph © Nic Lehoux

Designed by architect Renzo Piano, the new building will include approximately 50,000 square feet of indoor galleries and 13,000 square feet of outdoor exhibition space and terraces facing the High Line. An expansive gallery for special exhibitions will be approximately 18,000 square feet in area, making it the largest column-free museum gallery in New York City. Additional exhibition space includes a lobby gallery (accessible free of charge), two floors for the permanent collection, and a special exhibitions gallery on the top floor.

According to Mr. Piano, “The design for the new museum emerges equally from a close study of the Whitney’s needs and from a response to this remarkable site. We wanted to draw on its vitality and at the same time enhance its rich character. The first big gesture, then, is the cantilevered entrance, which transforms the area outside the building into a large, sheltered public space. At this gathering place beneath the High Line, visitors will see through the building entrance and the large windows on the west side to the Hudson River beyond. Here, all at once, you have the water, the park, the powerful industrial structures and the exciting mix of people, brought together and focused by this new building and the experience of art.”

The dramatically cantilevered entrance along Gansevoort Street will shelter an 8,500-square-foot outdoor plaza or “largo,” a public gathering space steps away from the southern entrance to the High Line. The building also will include an education center offering state-of-the-art classrooms; a multi-use black box theater for film, video, and performance with an adjacent outdoor gallery; a 170-seat theater with stunning views of the Hudson River; and a Works on Paper Study Center, Conservation Lab, and Library Reading Room. The classrooms, theater, and study center are all firsts for the Whitney.

A retail shop on the ground-floor level will contribute to the busy street life of the area. A ground-floor restaurant and top-floor cafe will be conceived and operated by renowned restaurateur Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group, which operated +Untitled+, the restaurant in the Whitney’s Marcel Breuer building on the Upper East Side, until programming there concluded on October 19.

Mr. Piano’s design takes a strong and strikingly asymmetrical form—one that responds to the industrial character of the neighboring loft buildings and overhead railway while asserting a contemporary, sculptural presence. The upper stories of the building overlook the Hudson River on its west, and step back gracefully from the elevated High Line Park to its east.

The campaign for the new Whitney goes far beyond the creation of a new museum facility that will showcase and safeguard the Museum’s irreplaceable collection. It is an investment in future generations of artists and the growing audiences who will engage with their work.  Continue reading