Where We Are

Solo en Inglès

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


Close up view of smokestacks

Elsie Driggs (1895-1992), Pittsburgh, 1927. Oil on canvas, 34 1/4 × 40 1/4in. (87 × 102.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art; gift of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 31.177 © Estate of Elsie Driggs


Narrator: Cough, cough, splutter, choke. It’s a little hard to breathe here, outside the factory.

Elsie Driggs made this somber painting of one of the many steel mills in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She liked the cylinder shapes of the chimneys and tubes and thought they had a “cool and classical” beauty. But she wasn't allowed to look inside the factory—the owners told her it was no place for a woman. Instead she found a view from a hill just above the mills. What do you think about that?

Take a look at the colors that Driggs used to make this painting. Why do you think she chose them? What kind of environment is Driggs showing you? It’s pretty dirty, right? But when Driggs made the painting, people didn’t realize what a problem pollution was going to cause. For her, this scene was beautiful.