Josh Kline: Project for a New American Century

Apr 19–Aug 13, 2023

Josh Kline (b. 1979, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; lives and works in New York, New York) is one of the leading artists of his generation. Kline is best known for creating immersive installations using video, sculpture, photography, and design to question how emergent technologies are changing human life in the twenty-first century. 

Josh Kline: Project for a New American Century is the first U.S. museum survey of the artist's work. Kline often utilizes the technologies, practices, and forms he scrutinizes—digitization, data collection, image manipulation, 3D printing, commercial and political advertising, productivity-enhancing substances—aiming them back at themselves. Some of his most well-known videos use early deep fake software to speculate on the meaning of truth in a time of post-truth propaganda. At its core, Kline’s prescient practice is focused on work and class, exploring how today’s most urgent social and political issues—climate change, automation, disease, and the weakening of democracy—impact the people who make up the labor force. 

The exhibition surveys over a decade of the artist’s work, including new installations and moving image works that address the climate crisis. Presented for the first time at the Whitney, these new science-fiction works approach the hotter, more dangerous future on the horizon from the perspective of essential workers who will inevitably be left to pick up the pieces. In an era defined by escalating crises, Kline’s work offers a visceral warning and calls for a more human future.

This exhibition is organized by Christopher Y. Lew, former Nancy and Fred Poses Curator at the Whitney and current Chief Artistic Director at the Horizon Art Foundation, with McClain Groff, Curatorial Project Assistant.

Please read our accessibility information before visiting Josh Kline: Project for a New American Century.

Generous support for Josh Kline: Project for a New American Century is provided by Judy Hart Angelo and the Whitney’s National Committee.

Major support is provided by Candy and Michael Barasch, Ashley Leeds and Christopher Harland, The Hartland & Mackie Foundation, Miyoung Lee and Neil Simpkins, and Jackson Tang.

Significant support is provided by an anonymous donor.

Additional support is provided by The Cowles Charitable Trust, Jeffrey and Leslie Fischer Family Foundation, Cindy and Howard Rachofsky, Laura Rapp and Jay Smith, and the Stanley and Joyce Black Family Foundation.

En Español

Josh Kline (n. 1979, Filadelfia; vive y trabaja en Nueva York) es uno de los artistas más importantes de su generación. A Kline se le conoce mejor por crear instalaciones inmersivas donde usa video, escultura, fotografía y diseño para cuestionar la manera en que las tecnologías emergentes están cambiando la vida humana en el siglo XXI. 

Josh Kline: Project for a New American Century [Josh Kline: Proyecto para un nuevo siglo estadounidense] es la primera exposición retrospectiva de la obra del artista en un museo de los Estados Unidos. Kline a menudo utiliza las tecnologías, las prácticas y las formas con las que trabaja, como la digitalización, la recopilación de datos, la manipulación de imágenes, la impresión 3D, la publicidad comercial y política, así como sustancias que inducen mayor productividad, para devolverlas nuevamente hacia sí mismas. Algunos de sus videos más conocidos utilizan software deep-fake temprano para especular sobre el significado de la verdad en tiempos de propaganda post-verdad. En esencia, la práctica profética de Kline se centra en temas laborales y de clase, explorando cómo los problemas sociales y políticos más urgentes de la actualidad, como el cambio climático, la automatización, las enfermedades y el debilitamiento de la democracia, afectan a las personas que componen la fuerza laboral.

La exposición examina más de una década del trabajo del artista, incluidas nuevas instalaciones y obras de imagen en movimiento que abordan la crisis climática. Estas nuevas obras de ciencia ficción que se presentan por primera vez en El Whitney exploran un futuro posible, más caliente y peligroso que el que conocemos, desde la perspectiva de los trabajadores esenciales que inevitablemente tendrán la tarea de reparar los daños. En una era definida por la escalada de la crisis, el trabajo de Kline ofrece una advertencia visceral y exige un futuro más humano.

Esta exposición fue organizada por Christopher Y. Lew, anterior Nancy and Fred Poses Curator en el Whitney y actual Director artístico principal en Horizon Art Foundation y Outland Art; junto a McClain Groff, Asistente de proyectos curatoriales.


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A file box filled with personal items including a framed picture of a child all encapsulated in a transparent shape of a virus.

Our Brand Is Crisis

Christopher Y. Lew, former Nancy and Fred Poses Curator at the Whitney and current Chief Artistic Director at the Horizon Art Foundation

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Audio guides

Hear directly from artists and curators on selected works from the exhibition.

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Exhibition Catalogue

One of the most thought-provoking artists of his generation, Josh Kline (b. 1979) creates installations, sculptures, videos, and photographs that address the ways new technologies affect how people live and work. Engaging with a range of concerns that impact the entire labor force, from essential workers to the creative class, Kline demonstrates how climate change, automation, disease, and politics have shaped our identities. At a time when so many aspects of life are under threat, Kline takes an unflinching look at how we got here and boldly imagines a more equitable and empathetic future. Kline’s art demonstrates the ways technology has widened and reinforced the gap of inequity in America, while also carrying the potential to make a fairer world. “As an artist who’s thinking about the consequences of technological innovation,” Kline has said, “I think there’s an obligation to raise questions about who benefits.” His ongoing cycle of installations (Freedom, 2014–16; Unemployment, 2015–16, Civil War, 2016–19; Climate Change, 2019–) that imagine the next hundred years of society are featured in this book, along with his earlier bodies of work, Creative Labor (2009–) and Blue Collars (2014–) and production images and concept sketches for his newest works that are published here for the first time.

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Explore works from this exhibition
in the Whitney's collection

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In the News

“It’s a virtuosic presentation from one of the world’s most timely artists—one that captures the anxieties of our current moment even when it looks ahead.” —Artnet

“Josh Kline’s Tour-de-Force Whitney Survey Is Further Proof of a Major Talent” —ARTnews

“This terrific show is further proof that Kline is one of our great living artists, a true master at spinning nightmarish visions of worlds to come.” —ARTnews

“Josh Kline’s contemporary genius shines in Project for a New American Century; his ability to merge various mediums allows for a completely immersive experience that also provides a salient warning.” —Musée Magazine

“A jolting retrospective” —The New York Times

“One of the most exciting exhibitions now on view” —The Washington Post