Where We Are

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Hear directly from artists and curators on selected works from Where We Are.

Painting of a subway station filled with people. At the center of the image stands a woman in a red dress with a fearful expression.

George Tooker, The Subway, 1950. Egg tempera on composition board, 18 1/8 × 36 1/8 in. (46 × 91.8 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Juliana Force Purchase Award 50.23. © George Tooker

Narrator: At first glance, this looks like an ordinary subway station. But take a close look. The station is full of people, yet each one is traveling alone. Notice how none of them are exactly the same—yet they’re eerily similar. Notice how they are not looking at each other. And what do you think of the looks on their faces? 

And another thing: how do you get out? This painting by George Tooker is full of entrances and exits, yet the people appear trapped. Trapped by the low ceiling, the bars and gates to the right and left, and the strange angle of the hallways behind. This isn’t a subway station I’d want to be in. And I don't know about you, but I don't think any of these people want to be there, either.

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