Skip to main content

Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself
May 1–Oct 4, 2021

Performance Series


Dave McKenzie (b. 1977) prompts observers to reconsider seemingly familiar feelings, settings, and actions. This focused exhibition presents McKenzie’s performances for the camera and documentation of his live art alongside pieces drawn from the Whitney’s collection by artists who have informed the concepts, gestures, and sensibilities in his work. The juxtaposition of McKenzie's art with that of Trisha Brown, Chris Burden, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Gordon Matta-Clark, Bruce Nauman, and Pope.L connects these artists' shared awareness of a voyeuristic audience, the incorporation of architecture, risk-taking, and the emphasis on public intervention.

Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself runs parallel to the new, Whitney-commissioned performance Disturbing the View, in which McKenzie uses the Museum's facade as a canvas in a choreographed disruption of its daily rhythms. Together the exhibition and performance commission span twenty years of McKenzie’s creative output and reflect key themes of his art: endurance, exhaustion, repetition, and humor. Illuminating the seriousness of play in artmaking, McKenzie engages with and questions ideas, images, and language using his principal tool—his own body. Disturbing the View took place from May 1 through June 12, 2021, on Friday and Saturday afternoons beginning at 1 pm.

Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself is curated by Adrienne Edwards, the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, with Mia Matthias, Curatorial Assistant.

Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself is supported by generous funds provided by Kevin and Rosemary McNeely, Manitou Fund and by a major endowment from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, which supports Outside the Box programming at the Whitney Museum. 


View all

Audio Guides

Hear directly from the artist on selected works from the exhibition.

Installation Photography

In the News

"Dave McKenzie excels at opening up little rifts in daily life through which the glitter of new behavior can be detected." The Observer



A 30-second online art project:
Ryan Kuo, Hateful Little Thing

Learn more

All visitors aged 12 and older must show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for admission to the Whitney, in accordance with NYC requirements. Visitors aged 18 and older will also be asked to show photo ID. Face coverings are required for all visitors. Learn more about the Whitney’s safety guidelines.