America Is Hard to See

Solo en Inglès

This audio guide highlights selected works by artists in America Is Hard to See. Curators, scholars, and artists provide additional commentary.

551RH Quaytman, Distracting Distance, Chapter 16, 2010


R. H. Quaytman (b. 1961), Distracting Distance, Chapter 16, 2010. Screenprint and gesso on wood, 24 5/8 x 39 7/8 in. (62.5 x 101.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee 2010.54. © R. H. Quaytman

NARRATOR: The works you see here, by RH Quaytman, are all part of a larger group of paintings that the artist considers “a chapter.” Each chapter that Quaytman produces relates to the place where the work will first be shown. These were first shown in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, which took place in the Upper East Side museum designed by Marcel Breuer. Quaytman’s work hung next to one of the building’s distinctive windows. 

RH QUAYTMAN: Because I really have always loved those Breuer windows. And they also refer to a concept I use a lot in my work, which is pushing the picture plane back into one point perspective.

And then I started thinking about just the history of the Whitney. And I went to the library. I did some research on Breuer, the collection. In the end, I just saw this painting of the Hopper, Woman in the Sun.  And I've always just really admired this painting a lot because I felt that the woman in it was very powerful and authoritative, and you wonder what she's thinking more than you wonder how she looks. And also to me [it] is the quintessential Whitney collection painting. 

NARRATOR: Quaytman photographed a friend and colleague next to the Breuer window, in a composition that strongly recalls the Hopper painting. Quaytman then silkscreened the image onto gessoed wood panels. 


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