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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 6

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.

Jane Panetta: My name is Jane Panetta. I'm an Associate Curator here at the Whitney. The 2019 Biennial includes seventy five artists.

Rujeko Hockley: My name is Rujeko Hockley and I’m an assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

For this iteration of the Biennial we’ve included seventy five artists from all across the United States, including Puerto Rico. 

Jane Panetta: While in large part it's a snapshot of contemporary art making in the United States today, it also is organized around certain themes that we saw bubbling up in the many studio visits we did during our research.

Rujeko Hockley: Some of the themes that have come up in this Biennial include an attention to kind of makerly-ness, the use of the hand in terms of making artwork versus a more slick or more hyperfinished approach. Questions of race, gender, and equity, particularly considering the tumultuous political moment we’re living through, as well as questions of community.

Jane Panetta: One of the biggest themes that we saw were artists mining, using different ways, historical documents, historical imagery, just history in general, and repurposing it in their work to reimagine the future or even reimagine the present. For many artists, it seemed like there are lessons to be learned from histories. We sort of navigate the difficulties of our present moment; that was something we saw through different mediums and time and time again.