Audio Guide Playlist
This audio guide highlights selected works in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection, with commentary by students from PS 33 Chelsea Prep and Whitney Museum educator Melanie Adsit.
Narrator: This is a picture of the artist Robert Bechtle’s own family. Maybe your family has posed for a photo recently.
BUT, unlike your family photos, this one is 5 feet tall and 7 feet across. Bechtle has taken an ordinary moment and immortalized it—making it into a really big painting. The size is extraordinary, even if the situation is not.
Traditionally, artists made portraits where the subjects were posed and all dressed up. But Bechtle has done nearly the opposite: his family is so casual that the little boy in stripes could be about to walk or turn away.
To make his paintings, Bechtle projected snapshots he had taken onto a canvas, traced the outlines, and then looked at the photo to fill in the colors.
Robert Bechtle (b. 1961), ’61 Pontiac, 1968-69. Oil on canvas, 59 3/4 × 84 1/4 in. (151.8 × 214 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Richard and Dorothy Rodgers Fund 70.16 © Robert Bechtle
- 603 Duane Hanson, Woman with Dog, 1977
- 604 Chuck Close, Lyle, 1999
- 652 Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Portals, 2016
- 662 Andrea Zittel, A to Z 1993 Living Unit, 1993
- 665 Josh Kline, Cost of Living (Aleyda), 2014
- 666 Urs Fischer, Standing Julian, 2015
- 667 Paul McCarthy, White Snow #3, 2012
- 703 Robert Bechtle, ’61 Pontiac, 1968
- 705 Barkley Hendricks, Steve, 1976
- 713 Charles Demuth, My Egypt, 1927
- 714 Georgia O’Keeffe, Summer Days, 1936
- 752 George Tooker, The Subway, 1950
- 722 Robert Henri, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, 1916
- 731 George Bellows, Dempsey and Firpo, 1924
- 753 Leidy Churchman, Tallest Residential Tower in the Western Hemisphere, 2015
- 762 Charles Henry Alston, The Family, 1955