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Edges of Ailey

Sept 25, 2024–Feb 2025

Edges of Ailey is the first large-scale museum exhibition to reflect on the life, work, and legacy of visionary artist Alvin Ailey (b. 1931, Rogers, Texas; d. 1989, New York, New York). Widely recognized for the dance company he founded in 1958, Ailey imagined and cultivated a platform for modern dance through his innovative repertoire, interdisciplinary sensibility, and support of other dancers and choreographers. Presented in the Museum’s 18,000+ square-foot fifth-floor galleries, this multifaceted presentation encompasses a multimedia exhibition, daily performance program, and scholarly catalogue to offer a richly layered experience for understanding the artist anew. 

Edges of Ailey will showcase an ambitious daily program of live performances, including works from the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater repertory and new commissions as well as workshops, classes, and panels. The exhibition situates Ailey within a broader social, creative, and cultural context, illuminating the artists who influenced and collaborated with him, the spaces and scenes he frequented, and the dynamic themes explored within his dances through painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, film and video, rehearsal footage, ephemera, and other archival materials. 

Edges of Ailey is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art in close consultation with the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. The exhibition is curated by Adrienne Edwards, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, with Joshua Lubin-Levy, Curatorial Research Associate, and CJ Salapare, Curatorial Assistant.

The lead sponsor for Edges of Ailey is the Jerome L. Greene Foundation.