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Meet the Director

About the Whitney

As the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents the full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists. The Whitney is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting American art, and its collection—arguably the finest holding of twentieth-century American art in the world—is the Museum's key resource. The Museum's signature exhibition, the Biennial, is the country's leading survey of the most recent developments in American art.

Innovation has been a hallmark of the Whitney since its beginnings. It was the first museum dedicated to the work of living American artists and the first New York museum to present a major exhibition of a video artist (Nam June Paik in 1982). Such figures as Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and Cindy Sherman were given their first museum retrospectives by the Whitney. The Museum has consistently purchased works within the year they were created, often well before the artists became broadly recognized. The Whitney was the first museum to take its exhibitions and programming beyond its walls by establishing corporate-funded branch facilities, and the first museum to undertake a program of collection-sharing (with the San Jose Museum of Art) in order to increase access to its renowned collection.

Designed by architect Renzo Piano and situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, the Whitney's new building vastly increases the Museum’s exhibition and programming space, providing the most expansive view ever of its unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art.

2019 Biennial
Floor 1

Solo en Inglès

“It's a snapshot of contemporary art making in the United States today.”—Jane Panetta, 2019 Biennial co-curator

Hear from the artists and curators about works in the exhibition.

Jeffrey Gibson: For the lobby, I am making a new textile-based piece.

Narrator: Artist Jeffrey Gibson. 

Jeffrey Gibson: It references a flag, the American flag. There’s thirteen stripes, there’s a top, left-handed panel, and it's made from textiles that I've designed. Those designs originated for a performance for the National Portrait Gallery, with the idea of naming different kinds of events and actions made by individuals who have both frustrated me, angered me, [and] inspired me, on a national level.

The very first one that really inspired it was the testimony of Dr. Ford. And the name of her event for me was She Speaks Up To Take Them Down.

It's a flag that uses a number of different pronouns. It addresses Queer, Trans communities, feminist histories, the idea of chosen family, chosen identities, and remixes these words into a flag that is quite large. 

I wasn't raised traditionally, and I wasn't raised within even a predominantly Native community. So my relationship to indigeneity is really a shared one in many ways. And then of course I have my family, and I have the tribes that I'm affiliated with, being Mississippi Choctaw and Cherokee in Oklahoma.

It's based on the identities that I don't see being celebrated at a national level. Having identified, or having been identified as a minority, as a peripheral culture, as not having been acknowledged in many parts of the United States, I also wanted to extend that to other people who I see in similar situations by acknowledging them in this flag.