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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 holdings of twentieth-century American art in the world—is the Museum's key resource. The Museum's flagship 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 important figures as Jasper Johns, Jay DeFeo, Glenn Ligon, Cindy Sherman, and Paul Thek were given their first comprehensive museum surveys at the Whitney. The Museum has consistently purchased works within the year they were created, often well before the artists who created them became broadly recognized.

Designed by architect Renzo Piano and situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, the Whitney's current 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.

Diane Simpson

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Diane Simpson: The structure of clothing forms has continuously informed my work, but along with that, I've been very influenced by the design and architecture of various cultures and periods in history.

Narrator: Diane Simpson.

Diane Simpson: I'm interested in the subject of the body without the body.

When I look at architecture, I isolate a section of a building like a chimney or a window, a roof shape. 

In the same way, I concentrate on a particular section or detail of clothing. A turn of a collar, a shape of the sleeve. I'm interested in the seamless shifting from body to architectural form in the melding of the wearable with this structurally unwearable.

I concentrate on a particular section of the body rather than the whole body.

Narrator: In some of the works on view here, Simpson was inspired by peplum, a cinch-waist, flared style that became popular in 1940s dresses.

Diane Simpson: With the peplum, I was just thinking about the area around the waist―I like the idea that it's so unnecessary and it's just this little added flounce.

A beige, geometric sculpture with elements both hanging on the wall and on the floor.

Diane Simpson: The structure of clothing forms has continuously informed my work, but along with that, I've been very influenced by the design and architecture of various cultures and periods in history.

Narrator: Diane Simpson.

Diane Simpson: I'm interested in the subject of the body without the body.

When I look at architecture, I isolate a section of a building like a chimney or a window, a roof shape. 

In the same way, I concentrate on a particular section or detail of clothing. A turn of a collar, a shape of the sleeve. I'm interested in the seamless shifting from body to architectural form in the melding of the wearable with this structurally unwearable.

I concentrate on a particular section of the body rather than the whole body.

Narrator: In some of the works on view here, Simpson was inspired by peplum, a cinch-waist, flared style that became popular in 1940s dresses.

Diane Simpson: With the peplum, I was just thinking about the area around the waist―I like the idea that it's so unnecessary and it's just this little added flounce.


Diane Simpson, Lambrequin and Peplum, 2017. Painted fiberboard crayon on polyester, and copper tacks, 109 × 50 × 31 in. (276.9 × 127 × 78.7 cm). Image courtesy the artist; Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; JTT, New York; and Herald Street, London. Photograph by Tom Van Eynde