At a time when debate continues over what it means to be American, Where We Are proposes a framework of everyday relationships, institutions, and activities that form an individual's sense of self. The exhibition focuses on works from the Whitney’s collection made between 1900 and 1960, a tumultuous period in the history of the United States when life in the country changed drastically due to war, economic collapse, and demands for civil rights. Artists responded in complex and diverse ways, and the exhibition honors their efforts to put forward new ways of presenting the self and American life.
Where We Are is organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection, with Jennie Goldstein, assistant curator, and Margaret Kross, curatorial assistant.
95 Horatio Street is a site-specific work by the artist Do Ho Suh (b. 1962, Seoul, South Korea), presented as part of the ongoing series of public art installations located across the street from the Whitney Museum of American Art and the High Line. The work visually reconnects the building facade of 95 Horatio Street with the elevated railway that once occupied the neighborhood. Although today the High Line ends at Gansevoort Street, here Suh imagines what the vista might have looked like in the days when train tracks continued to run through buildings down into SoHo. The digitally rendered image, titled 95 Horatio Street is installed on the southwest corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets.
This installation is organized by curatorial assistant Christie Mitchell.
An Incomplete History of Protest looks at how artists have approached protest by making art as a form of documentation, social criticism, agitprop, activism, teaching, institutional critique, and radical reimagining. The exhibition foregrounds themes—from questions of representation to the fight for civil rights—that still incite protest today, both at the Whitney and in the world.
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
For her first solo museum exhibition in New York, Toyin Ojih Odutola presents an interconnected series of fictional portraits, chronicling the lives of two aristocratic Nigerian families.
Ojih Odutola (b. 1985) creates intimate drawings that explore the complexity and malleability of identity. Depicted in her distinctive style of intricate mark-making, her sumptuous compositions reimagine the genre and traditions of portraiture.
Rendered life-size in charcoal, pastel, and pencil, Ojih Odutola’s figures appear enigmatic and mysterious, set against luxurious backdrops of domesticity and leisure. They, and the worlds they inhabit, are informed by the artist’s own array of inspirations, which range from art history to popular culture to experiences of migration and dislocation. Highly attentive to detail and the nuances of space, class, and color—whether of palette or skin—Ojih Odutola continues her examinations of narrative, authenticity, and representation.
This exhibition is organized by Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator and Melinda Lang, curatorial assistant.
Artist and activist Jimmie Durham (b. 1940) has worked as a visual artist, performer, essayist, and poet for more than forty-five years. A political organizer for the American Indian Movement during the 1970s, he was an active participant in the downtown New York City artistic community in the 1980s. In 1987 he moved to Cuernavaca, Mexico, then to Europe in 1994, where he has lived ever since. Predominantly a sculptor, Durham often combines found objects and natural materials and incorporates text to expose Western-centric views and prejudices hidden in language, objects, and institutions. Calling himself an "interventionist," Durham is oftentimes critical in his analysis of society but with a distinctive wit that is simultaneously generously humorous.
Durham's expansive practice spans sculpture, drawing, collage, photography, video, and performance, and the exhibition includes approximately 120 objects dating from 1970 to the present. It is accompanied by a catalogue comprising several scholarly essays, an interview with the artist, a chronology, and a selection of Durham's own writings, both old and new. The first North American retrospective of Durham's work, At the Center of the World traces his remarkable attentiveness to materials and characteristic approach to assemblage while demonstrating his commitment to shedding light on the complexities of historical narratives, notions of authenticity, and the borders and boundaries that try to contain us.
Jimmie Durham: At the Center of the World is organized by the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and curated by Anne Ellegood, senior curator, with MacKenzie Stevens, curatorial assistant. The Whitney’s presentation is organized by Elisabeth Sussman, Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, and Laura Phipps, assistant curator, Whitney Museum of American Art.
For more than twenty years, Los Angeles–based artist Laura Owens has pioneered an innovative approach to painting that has made her one of the most influential artists of her generation. Her bold and experimental work challenges traditional assumptions about figuration and abstraction, as well as the relationships among avant-garde art, craft, pop culture, and technology. This mid-career survey, the most comprehensive of Owens’s work to-date, will feature approximately 60 paintings from the mid-1990s until today, as well as artist’s books made specifically for the show. The exhibition will highlight her significant strides over the past few years, showing how the early work sets the stage for gripping new paintings and installations.
This exhibition is organized by Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, with Jessica Man, curatorial assistant.
Experiments in Electrostatics: Photocopy Art from the Whitney’s Collection, 1966–1986 explores the use of the photocopier as a creative tool, from its public emergence in the 1960s to the dawn of the digital era in the 1980s. Despite the machine’s intended function to reproduce office documents, artists inventively utilized it as a camera and printing press to create original fine art prints. They placed objects on the flatbed, distorted imagery in the process of scanning, and manipulated the exposure, density, and saturation settings to achieve imaginative, often unexpected results. Far from “copies,” these still lifes, portraits, abstractions, and collages reflected the ingenuity of their makers. Focusing on three artists and one collective—Edward Meneeley, Lesley Schiff, Robert Whitman, and the International Society of Copier Artists—this exhibition investigates how artists found self-expression through a machine designed for replication.
Experiments in Electrostatics is organized by Michelle Donnelly, curatorial fellow.
For his first solo presentation in a United States institution, Juan Antonio Olivares (b. 1988, Bayamón, Puerto Rico) presents his 2017 video Moléculas, along with a suite of related drawings. Moléculas relates a highly personal narrative that is part autobiographical, part fantastical reality. The work explores fundamental questions about family, loss, separation, and our very existence as well as the ways in which memories acutely and even painfully live on long after events have passed. Made using 3D animation, Olivares’s touching video is equally sensitive in its technical detail. Rendered in a muted palette, the work is set in an interior that suggests both analyst’s office and modernist living room. Moléculas visually evokes the delicate landscape of the mind, which Olivares ultimately sees as universal to our collective experiences, particularly of loss and death. This video work is part of the Whitney’s permanent collection.
The exhibition is organized by Jane Panetta, associate curator.
Grant Wood's American Gothic—the double portrait of a pitchfork-wielding farmer and a woman commonly presumed to be his wife—is perhaps the most recognizable painting in 20th century American art, an indelible icon of Americana, and certainly Wood's most famous art work. But Wood's career consists of far more than one single painting. Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fablesbrings together the full range of his art, from his early Arts and Crafts decorative objects and Impressionist oils through his mature paintings, murals, and book illustrations. What the exhibition reveals is a complex, sophisticated artist whose image as a farmer-painter was as mythical as the fables he depicted in his art. Wood sought pictorially to fashion a world of harmony and prosperity that would answer America's need for reassurance at a time of economic and social upheaval occasioned by the Depression. Yet underneath its bucolic exterior, his art reflects the anxiety of being an artist and a closeted gay man in the Midwest in the 1930s. By depicting his subconscious anxieties through populist images of rural America, Wood crafted images that speak both to American identity and to the estrangement and isolation of modern life.
Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables is organized by Barbara Haskell, Curator, with Sarah Humphreville, Senior Curatorial Assistant.
New York–based artist Zoe Leonard (b. 1961, Liberty, New York) is among the most critically acclaimed artists of her generation. Over the past three decades, she has produced work in photography and sculpture that has been celebrated for its lyrical observations of daily life coupled with a rigorous, questioning attention to the politics and conditions of image making and display. Zoe Leonard: Survey is the first large-scale overview of the artist’s work in an American museum. The exhibition looks across Leonard’s career to highlight her engagement with a range of themes, among them histories of photography, embodiments of loss and mourning, institutional regulations of gender, migration, and the urban landscape. More than it focuses on any particular subject, however, Leonard’s work slowly and reflectively calibrates vision and form. Through repetition, subtle changes of perspective, and shifts of scale, Leonard draws viewers into an awareness of the meanings behind otherwise familiar images or objects. A counter-example to the speed and disposability of image culture today, Leonard’s photographs, sculptures, and installations ask us to reengage with how we see. The Whitney has a longstanding commitment to Leonard, who has been featured in three Biennials, was awarded the Bucksbaum Award for her contribution to the 2014 Biennial, and is significantly represented in the Museum’s collection.
Zoe Leonard: Survey is organized by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The exhibition is organized by Bennett Simpson, senior curator, with Rebecca Matalon, curatorial associate, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The installation at the Whitney Museum is overseen by Elisabeth Sherman, assistant curator.
This group exhibition features works by six emerging artists that address the inseparability of the natural and social worlds through a distinctly subjective or autobiographical lens. The artists included are: Carolina Caycedo (b. 1978, London; lives and works in Los Angeles), Demian DinéYazhi ́ (b. 1983, Gallup, NM; lives and works in Portland, OR), Torkwase Dyson (b.1973, Chicago, IL; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY), Cy Gavin (b. 1985, Pittsburgh; lives and works in New York, NY), Lena Henke (b. 1982, Warburg, Germany; lives and works New York, NY), and Erin Jane Nelson (b. 1989, Neenah, WI; lives and works in Atlanta). Working in painting, sculpture, and video, these artists take environmental realities and histories of the land as a point of departure—from hydroelectric dam construction in Colombia and transatlantic underwater internet cables to Bermuda’s ecological and sociopolitical evolution—to create intuitive, sometimes fictional or fantastical narratives. In doing so, these works merge the mythical and the personal, collectively asserting the value of individual human experience while suggesting the limits of human reason.
The exhibition is organized by Elisabeth Sherman, assistant curator, and Margaret Kross, curatorial assistant.
Nick Mauss continues a hybrid mode of working he has pursued for a decade in which the roles of curator, artist, choreographer, scholar, and performer converge. Here he turns his attention to the history of American modernist ballet and its intersections with the visual arts, theater, fashion, and new representations of the body. For this exhibition, Mauss (b. 1980, New York, NY) will explore these concerns within new works of his own—ranging from scores for a ballet to scenic design, décor elements, and live performance—alongside pieces from the Whitney’s collection and those of other institutions, including the Kinsey Institute for Sex, Gender, and Reproduction and the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of the New York Public Library. In the current vogue for contemporary dance in museums, the legacy of ballet remains relatively unexamined. Focusing on New York’s role in a transatlantic exchange of ballet and surrealist aesthetics, this exhibition will present a vision of American modernist ballet as an artistic catalyst, filter, and vibrant, shared vocabulary. Central to the exhibition will be a ballet conceived by Mauss in close collaboration with dancers in response to archival material and the constellation of objects in the show. Through the intertwined languages of ballet, painting, photography, and sculpture, Mauss will also explore a pre-queer history within the realm of supposedly straight cultural production of the 1930s and 1940s. Mauss previously appeared at the Whitney in the 2012 Whitney Biennial, for which he created an architectural intervention based on his memory of a work by Christian Bérard, which served as the backdrop for an installation of works from the Museum’s permanent collection.
This exhibition is organized by Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, and Elisabeth Sussman, Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, with Greta Hartenstein, senior curatorial assistant, and Allie Tepper, curatorial project assistant.
Mary Corse’s first solo museum survey is a long overdue examination of this singular artist’s career. Initially trained as an abstract painter, Corse (b. 1945, Berkeley, CA) emerged in the mid-1960s as one of the few women associated with the West Coast Light and Space movement. She 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. This focused exhibition highlights critical moments of experimentation as Corse engaged with tropes of modernist painting, from the monochrome to the grid, while charting her own course through studies in quantum physics and complex investigations into a range of “painting” materials, from fluorescent light and Plexiglas 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 light encasements that she engineered in the mid-1960s, 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 downtown Los Angeles to Topanga Canyon, where she lives and works today.
The exhibition is organized by Kim Conaty, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawings and Prints. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, featuring new scholarship and object studies that demonstrate how Corse’s groundbreaking approach to light, perception, and subjectivity forged a new language of painting.
Pacha, Llacta, Wasichay gives center stage to contemporary art practices that highlight indigenous thinking around the built environment. The three Quechuan words—the indigenous language most spoken in the Americas—pacha (time, space, nature, world), llacta (place, country, community), and wasichay (to build) each point to a decolonial approach of preserving and foregrounding indigenous concepts that transcend the English term architecture. Rather than upholding Western modernist architecture as a marker of development in the Americas, the artworks in this exhibition explore the conceptual legacies inherited from, and also still alive in, indigenous groups that include the Inca, Quechua, Maya, and Arawak, among others. Artists such as William Cordova (b. 1971 in Lima, Peru; lives Lima, Miami, and New York), Jorge González (b. 1981 in San Juan, Puerto Rico; lives San Juan), Ronny Quevedo (b. 1981 Guayaquil, Ecuador; lives New York), and Clarissa Tossin (b. 1973 in Porto Alegre, Brazil; lives Los Angeles) investigate the complex relationship that indigenous and vernacular notions of construction, land, space, and cosmology have had in the history of modern and contemporary art and architecture in the Americas.
This exhibition is organized by Marcela Guerrero, assistant curator, with Alana Hernandez, curatorial project assistant.
This exhibition will be the first major, monographic presentation of the work of David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992) in over a decade. Wojnarowicz came to prominence in the East Village art world of the 1980s, actively embracing all media and forging an expansive range of work both fiercely political and highly personal. Although largely self-taught, he worked as an artist and writer to meld a sophisticated combination of found and discarded materials with an uncanny understanding of literary influences. First displayed in raw storefront galleries, his work achieved national prominence at the same moment that the AIDS epidemic was cutting down a generation of artists, himself included. This presentation will draw upon recently-available scholarly resources and the Whitney’s extensive holdings of Wojnarowicz’s work.
David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake At Night is co-curated by David Kiehl, Curator Emeritus, and David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection.
Kevin Beasley engages with the legacy of the American South through a new installation that centers on a cotton gin motor from Maplesville, Alabama. In operation from 1940 to 1973, the motor powered the gins that separated cotton seeds from fiber. Here, the New York-based artist uses it to generate sound as if it were a musical instrument, creating space for visual and aural contemplation. Through the use of customized microphones, soundproofing, and audio hardware, the installation divorces the physical motor from the noises it produces, enabling visitors to experience sight and sound as distinct. As an immersive experience, the work serves as a meditation on history, land, race, and labor. This is Beasley’s first solo exhibition at a New York museum, and his most ambitious work to date. Beasley (b. 1985, Lynchburg, VA), who works in a range of mediums including sculpture, installation, and performance, was included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial, Greater New York 2015 at MoMA PS1, and Fore (2012) at the Studio Museum in Harlem. The Hammer Museum presented a solo exhibition of Beasley’s work in 2017 and he will be the subject of another one person show at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston next year.
This exhibition is organized by Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Associate Curator, with Ambika Trasi, curatorial assistant.
Few American artists are as ever-present and instantly recognizable as Andy Warhol (1928–1987). Uniting all aspects, media, and periods of Warhol’s career, this exhibition will provide an historic opportunity to better comprehend the work of the most American of artists. The presentation will illuminate the breadth and depth of the artist’s production: from his beginnings as a commercial illustrator in the 1950s, to his iconic Pop masterpieces of the early 1960s, to the experimental work in film and other mediums from the 1960s and '70s, to his innovative use of readymade abstraction and the painterly sublime in the 1980s. Building on the wealth of new research and materials that have come to light since the artist’s untimely death, this exhibition reveals new complexities about the Warhol we think we know, and introduces a Warhol for the 21st century.
The exhibition tours to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in spring 2019, and to the Art Institute of Chicago in fall 2019.
The exhibition is organized by Donna De Salvo, Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, with Christie Mitchell, curatorial assistant, and Mark Loiacono, curatorial research associate.