Advance Exhibition Schedule
Dawoud Bey: An American Project
Opens April 17—October 3, 2021
Dawoud Bey (b. 1953) is recognized as one of the most innovative and influential photographers of his generation. Since the beginning of his career, Bey has used his camera to visualize communities and histories that have largely remained underrepresented or even unseen. Starting with his earliest body of work Harlem, USA (1975–79), Bey has worked primarily in portraiture, making direct and psychologically resonant portrayals of socially marginalized subjects. The exhibition includes his early portraits of Harlem residents, large-scale color Polaroids, and a series of collaborative portraits of high school students, among others. Two recent bodies of work, The Birmingham Project (2012) and Night Coming Tenderly, Black (2017), render African American history in forms at once lyrical and immediate. He sees making art as not just a kind of personal expression but as an act of social and political engagement, working in and with art institutions to break down obstacles to access, to convene communities, and to open dialogue.
Dawoud Bey: An American Project is co-organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition is co-curated by Elisabeth Sherman, assistant curator at the Whitney, and Corey Keller, curator of photography at SFMOMA.
David Hammons: Day's End
Day’s End, a public art project by the immensely influential New York-based artist David Hammons (b. 1943), derives its inspiration and name from Gordon Matta-Clark's 1975 artwork in which he cut five openings into the original Pier 52 shed. Developed in collaboration with the Hudson River Park Trust, Hammons’s artwork will be an open structure that follows the precise outline, dimensions, and location of the original shed—a ghost version of the original building. Like Matta-Clark's work, it will offer an extraordinary place to experience the waterfront and view the sunset. Affixed to the shore on the south edge of Gansevoort Peninsula, the structure will extend over the water, employing the thinnest possible support system. It will appear evanescent and ethereal, seeming to shimmer and almost disappear, changing with the light of day and atmospheric conditions. Hammons’s Day’s End also alludes to the history of New York’s waterfront—from the heyday of its shipping industry to the reclaimed piers that became a gathering place for the gay community. Open to everyone, the artwork will allow easy access to the river's edge.
Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself
Opens May 1, 2021 (Exhibition)
May 1—June 13, 2021 (Performances)
Dave McKenzie (b. 1977; Kingston, Jamaica) draws inspiration for his new Whitney commission, Disturbing the View, from the entrepreneurial window washers common in many American cities. McKenzie choreographs a circuitous path around the Museum using the building’s facade as a canvas and obscuring individual windows. As he progresses the artist inserts himself into the Museum’s daily rhythms, at times visible or hidden from sight, momentarily disrupting the view and prompting observers to consider essential labor that is often invisible. Performance dates to be announced.
This performance is accompanied by Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself, a focused presentation on the Museum’s third floor in which McKenzie’s performances for the camera and documentation of live art are contextualized alongside works by artists who have informed the concepts, gestures, and sensibilities in his art. Together the performance commission and exhibition span twenty years of McKenzie’s creative output, illuminating both the seriousness of play in his artmaking and how he engages with and questions ideas, images, and language using his principal tool—his own body.
Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself is organized by Adrienne Edwards, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance, with Mia Matthias, curatorial assistant.
Jasper Johns: Mind/Mirror
September 29, 2021—February 13, 2022
Jasper Johns (b. 1930) is arguably the most influential living American artist. Over the past sixty-five years, he has produced a radical and varied body of work marked by constant reinvention. In an unprecedented collaboration, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Whitney will stage a retrospective of Johns’s career simultaneously across the two museums, featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints, many shown publicly for the first time. Inspired by the artist’s long-standing fascination with mirroring and doubles, the two halves of the exhibition will act as reflections of one another, spotlighting themes, methods, and images that echo across the two venues. A visit to one museum or the other will provide a vivid chronological survey; a visit to both will offer an innovative and immersive exploration of the many phases, facets, and masterworks of Johns's still-evolving career.
This exhibition is co-organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The organizing curators are Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Carlos Basualdo, The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
September 2021—March 2022
Performance artist Martine Gutierrez (b. 1989) draws from an eclectic range of media to document her artistic metamorphosis into various imagined roles. Culling from the languages of fashion, film, and advertising, the artist references each industry's visual imagery while subverting the conventions still pervasive in commercial image making. Acting as subject, artist, and muse, Gutierrez meticulously creates editorial and cinematic montages, captured through photography and videos, that challenge public perceptions of identity from the intersection of gender, beauty, race, and class.
Organized by the Whitney in partnership with TF Cornerstone and High Line Art, Martine Gutierrez is the latest work in a series of public art installations that has featured works by key American artists, including Njideka Akunyili Crosby (2015–2016), Do Ho Suh (2017–2018), Christine Sun Kim (2018), and Derek Fordjour (2018–2019).
Martine Gutierrez is organized by Marcela Guerrero, assistant curator.
Opens October 22, 2021
For two decades, the members of My Barbarian—Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alexandro Segade—have used performance to theatricalize social issues, adapting narratives from modern plays, historical texts, and mass media into structures for their performances.
On the occasion of their twentieth anniversary, My Barbarian will present a two-part survey of their work. One part will reimagine iconic shows representative of the trio's array of theatrical styles through a series of live performances, including a play, a festival, a cabaret-style concert, and a rehearsal-as-performance. These will be complemented by an exhibition that traces the history of the group's work through video performances and documentary footage, as well as sculptures, paintings, drawings, masks, and puppets drawn from their extensive archive.
To celebrate My Barbarian's creative output, the Whitney has commissioned Rose Bird, which will be composed, directed, and performed by the trio. This performance for the camera will be created in homage to the first female chief justice of the California Supreme Court, Rose Bird, a controversial figure due to her opposition to the death penalty—a sentence she repeatedly overturned during her decade-long tenure. Working with a variety of texts, Rose Bird will reimagine scenes from her biography as a teleplay and appropriate the media reports that framed both her personal life and work.
My Barbarian is organized by Adrienne Edwards, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance, with Mia Matthias, curatorial assistant.
Jennifer Packer: The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing
Jennifer Packer's paintings and drawings combine observation, memory, and improvisation. Featuring over thirty works from the past decade, The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing is the largest survey of Packer's practice to date. Her intimate renderings of friends, family, and flowers evoke the art historical genres of portraiture and still life, while also highlighting the politics of representation.
Her paintings, most recently seen at the Whitney in the 2019 Biennial, slide between the fidelity of depiction and the freedom of abstraction. This avowal of both clarity and opacity endows her paintings with the same complexity she sees in the Black sitters that populate her art—and the world. "My inclination to paint," Packer has said, "especially from life, is a completely political one. We belong here. We deserve to be seen and acknowledged in real time. We deserve to be heard and to be imaged with shameless generosity and accuracy."
Jennifer Packer: The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing was initiated by Serpentine and curated by Melissa Blanchflower, curator, exhibitions and public art with Natalia Grabowska, assistant curator. The presentation at the Whitney is organized by Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator.
2022 Whitney Biennial
The Whitney Biennial was introduced in 1932 by the Museum's founder, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. Established to chart developments in art of the United States, it is the longest-running exhibition of its kind. To date, more than 3,600 influential and innovative artists have participated in a Whitney biennial or annual. A constellation of the most relevant art and ideas of our time, the 2022 exhibition will be the Biennial's eightieth edition.
The 2022 Whitney Biennial is co-organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Initiatives, and Adrienne Edwards, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance, with Margaret Kross, senior curatorial assistant.