Late Nights at the Whitney
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Gary Simmons creates sculptures, installations, and large-scale wall drawings, known as "erasure drawings," which use icons and stereotypes of American popular culture to address personal and collective experiences of race and class. In spring 2013, YI Leaders worked with Simmons to create a public art project. The theme, "What are you waiting for?" emerged from discussions the artist and students had about the role of waiting in their lives, whether waiting for an elevator or train to arrive or the anticipation of major personal events such as high school graduation and the beginning of adulthood. The teens were also interested in making connections to the opening of the new Whitney downtown building in 2015. The teens collected responses to the question, "What are you waiting for?" from their classmates and the larger community. The handwritten scraps of paper were then photographed, printed, and installed on a wall near the Whitney's new building site in July 2013, at the corner of Gansevoort and Washington Streets in Manhattan.