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Jun 28, 2023–Feb 2024

Inheritance traces the idea of inheritance—i.e. what we have been left with or received from the past—across familial, historical, and aesthetic lines. Presenting mostly new acquisitions and works not frequently on view at the Museum, this exhibition explores ideas of (re)birth, (re)generation, repetition, and recursiveness through a diverse array of permanent collection works from the 1970s to today. 

Drawing inspiration from Ephraim Asili’s 2020 film of the same title, Inheritance interweaves narrative with documentary, layering quotidian, individual experiences atop historical and generational events. Rather than draw a distinction between these, the exhibition considers the notion of inheritance as a concept or method of transmission: from one time to the next, one person to the next, one idea to the next. Spanning the last six decades, the artworks on view—painting, sculpture, video, photography, and installation—ask us to consider what has been passed on, and how that may shift, change, or live again. Rather than blind acceptance of our current state, they ask us to wonder what is beneath what we see, what previous ideas and experiences? Fundamentally, how did we get here, as individuals and as a society? 

Artists featured in this exhibition include Ephraim Asili, Kevin Beasley, Diedrick Brackens, Beverly Buchanan, Andrea Carlson, Mary Beth Edelson, John Edmonds, Kevin Jerome Everson, Chitra Ganesh, Todd Gray, Wade Guyton, David Hartt, Emily Jacir, Mary Kelly, Maggie Lee, Dindga McCannon, Ana Mendieta, Thaddeus Mosley, Lorraine O’Grady, Kambui Olujimi, John Outterbridge, Pat Philips, Sophie Rivera, Carissa Rodriguez, Cameron Rowland, Sturtevant, Hank Willis Thomas, Clarissa Tossin, WangShui, Kara Walker, Joan Wallace, and Bruce and Norman Yonemoto

This exhibition is organized by Rujeko Hockley, Arnhold Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.



A 30-second online art project:
Amelia Winger-Bearskin, Sky/World Death/World

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