Advance Exhibition Schedule
Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s
March 29, 2019 –
Painters in the 1960s faced a dilemma. Committed to the notion that color combined with gesture could still be an advanced form of artistic practice, they were forced to reckon with the newly-indelible legacy of Abstract Expressionism and the freshly-ascendant reign of Pop Art. After the painterly inventions of Jackson Pollock and the critical and cool precision of Andy Warhol, what could painting do? Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s looks to the particular power of color to articulate questions around perception, race, gender, and the coding of space. Instead of bracketing artists by movement—using terms like Op Art and Color Field—the exhibition gathers paintings that differently employ direct, saturated, even hallucinatory colors to activate the viewer’s perception.
While contemporaneous accounts spoke in universal ways about perception, recent scholarship has looked to the personal, social, and political conditions that impact how we understand and speak about perception. Many of the artists in the exhibition were painting as active participants in the civil rights and women’s rights movements. Their—primarily abstract—paintings permit spaces for viewers to consider the politics of place and presence.
Drawn entirely from the Whitney’s collection, the exhibition includes important recent acquisitions by Emma Amos and Kay WalkingStick, as well as works by Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Gilliam, Marcia Hafif, Ellsworth Kelly, Morris Louis, and Bob Thompson. The title of the exhibition is taken from a quote by Thompson, who shortly before his death in 1966 said, “I paint many paintings that tell me slowly that I have something inside of me that is just bursting, twisting, sticking, spilling over to get out. Out into souls and mouths and eyes that have never seen before.” Spilling Over demonstrates why and how painting could still matter for artists who wanted to see anew.
The exhibition is organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection, with Margaret Kross, curatorial assistant, Whitney Museum of American Art.
May 17 – September 22, 2019
The Whitney Biennial is an unmissable event for anyone interested in finding out what’s happening in art today. Curators Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley have been visiting artists over the past year in search of the most important and relevant work. Featuring seventy-five artists and collectives working in painting, sculpture, installation, film and video, photography, performance, and sound, the 2019 Biennial takes the pulse of the contemporary artistic moment. Introduced by the Museum’s founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, the Biennial is the longest-running exhibition in the country to chart the latest developments in American art.
The 2019 Whitney Biennial is organized by Jane Panetta, associate curator, and Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator, with Ramsay Kolber, curatorial project assistant, Whitney Museum of American Art. The 2019 Whitney Biennial is presented by Tiffany & Co., lead sponsor of the Biennial through 2021.
The Whitney Collection: Selections from 1900 to 1965
Opens June 28, 2019
This exhibition, drawn entirely from the Whitney’s collection, weaves its way through American art history by looking at formative movements, revisited and reimagined genres, and the achievements of single artists. The Whitney Museum of American Art was established in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, an artist and benefactor, to advocate on behalf of living American artists. The collection Whitney assembled with the Museum’s first director, Juliana Force, was art-historically rigorous and vibrantly idiosyncratic. Taking its cue from this history, the presentation begins with selections from the Museum’s founding collection, and then examines—largely chronologically—art historical movements including Precisionism, Abstract Expressionism, and Pop; the genres of landscape and fantasy; and the singular contributions of, among others, Georgia O’Keeffe and Jacob Lawrence. In addition to galleries dedicated to icons of the collection, including Alexander Calder’s Circus and Edward Hopper, the exhibition also features more recent acquisitions, including Norman Lewis’s American Totem (1960). The exhibition looks at how singular artistic acts, placed in dialogue with others, help us to see the varieties of the American experience, pasts that need further study, and futures that are in the process of being made.
This exhibition is organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection, with Margaret Kross, curatorial assistant, and Roxanne Smith, curatorial assistant.
September 20, 2019 – January 5, 2020
The boundary-bursting artist Jason Moran grounds his practice in the composition of jazz, bridging the visual and performing arts through spellbinding stagecraft. Heralded as one of the country’s leading jazz innovators, Moran transmutes his personal experience of the world into dynamic musical compositions that challenge the formal conventions of the medium. His experimental approach to art-making embraces the intersection of objects and sound, pushing beyond the traditional in ways that are inherently theatrical. This exhibition, the artist’s first solo museum show, presents the range of work Moran (b. 1975, Houston, TX) has explored, from his own sculptural pieces to collaborations with visual artists to performances. Among the many artists with whom Moran has collaborated are Joan Jonas, Kara Walker, Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, Stan Douglas, Carrie Mae Weems, Adam Pendleton, Theaster Gates, Julie Mehretu, Ryan Trecartin and Lizzie Fitch. Originating in Minneapolis at the Walker Art Center in the spring of 2018, the show has traveled to the ICA Boston and will next be seen at the Wexner Center before its final stop at the Whitney. This grand finale in Moran's hometown will feature many performances by renowned jazz musicians and new live adaptations of works made with his most significant artistic collaborators. Moran was included in the Whitney Biennial 2012, together with Alicia Hall Moran, for which they created a five-day performance residency, BLEED.
Jason Moran is organized by the Walker Art Center, and curated by Adrienne Edwards with Danielle A. Jackson. The Whitney’s presentation is overseen by Adrienne Edwards, the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance.
Rachel Harrison Life Hack
October 25, 2019 – January 12, 2020
Rachel Harrison’s first full-scale survey will track the development of her career over the past twenty-five years, incorporating room-size installations, autonomous sculpture, photography, and drawing. The breadth of art history, the impurities of politics and celebrity culture, and the strangeness of history coalesce in Harrison’s complex works, in which readymades collude with invented forms. The Whitney’s exhibition will include approximately 100 works spanning the early 1990s to the present, drawn from private and public collections throughout the world. The catalogue will feature essays by Maggie Nelson, Alexander Nemerov, Darby English, and Johanna Burton.
Organized by Elisabeth Sussman, Curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography, Whitney Museum of American Art, and David Joselit, Distinguished Professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York, with Kelly Long, curatorial assistant, Whitney Museum of American Art.
Alan Michelson: Wolf Nation
October 25, 2019 – January 12, 2020
This first solo museum exhibition at the Whitney of Alan Michelson (Mohawk, b. 1953) features his 2018 video Wolf Nation. Using webcam footage of red wolves, a critically endangered indigenous species, Michelson creates a poetic meditation that links their eradication with that of the once-locally situated Munsees, known as the Wolf tribe of the Lenape, from their territory. The video’s purple color and wide format refer to the Native tradition of wampum belts, woven sashes of purple and white beads that carry solemn messages, and were used in the negotiation of treaties. The haunting soundtrack is composed by White Mountain Apache musician and composer Laura Ortman. The work’s simultaneous evocation of place, culture, and animal affirms an indigenous worldview, and cross-species solidarity. Wolf Nation is entering the Whitney’s collection.
This exhibition is organized by Chrissie Iles, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator, with Clémence White, curatorial assistant.
Pope.L: Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration
Opens October 10, 2019
For almost four decades, Pope.L (b. 1955) has challenged us to confront some of the most pressing questions about American society as well as about the very nature of art. Best known for enacting arduous and provocative interventions in public spaces, Pope.L addresses issues and themes ranging from language to gender, race, social struggle, and community. His boundary-breaking practice ranges from performance to painting, installation, video, sculpture, and theater. Pope.L: Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration is a trio of complementary exhibitions organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Museum of Modern Art, and Public Art Fund. Utilizing both public and private spaces, the expansive presentation will address many elements of the artist’s oeuvre from seminal early works, to a monumental new installation, and a new performative work inspired by the artist’s iconic crawl series on the streets of New York City.
At the Whitney, on the occasion of Pope.L’s receipt of the 2017 Bucksbaum Award, the artist will create a new installation entitled Choir. Expanding on Pope.L’s ongoing exploration and use of water, Choir is inspired by the fountain, the public arena, and John Cage’s conception of music and sound. The Whitney presentation is organized by Christopher Y. Lew, Nancy and Fred Poses Curator, with Ambika Trasi, curatorial assistant.
Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945
The radical cultural transformation Mexico undertook at the end of its Revolution in 1920 established a new relationship between art and the public, giving rise to an art that spoke directly to the people about social justice and national life. The model galvanized artists in the United States who were seeking to break free of European aesthetic domination and create a publicly significant and accessible native art. Numerous American artists traveled to Mexico, and the leading Mexican muralists—José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera, and David Alfaro Siqueiros—spent extended periods of time in the United States, where they executed murals, paintings, and prints, exhibited their work, and interacted with local artists. With approximately 250 works by eighty Mexican and American artists, this exhibition will demonstrate the impact Mexican artists had on their counterparts in the United States during this period and the ways in which their example inspired American artists to create epic narratives about American history and everyday life and to use their art to protest economic, social, and racial injustices.
The exhibition is organized by Barbara Haskell, curator, with Marcela Guerrero, assistant curator; Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant; and Alana Hernandez, former curatorial project assistant.
Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist
Opens Spring 2020
Agnes Pelton (1881–1961) was among the generation of American artists in the first decades of the twentieth century who rejected realism in favor of portraying their inner emotional states. But unlike her peers, who based their abstractions on the exterior world, Pelton used her vocabulary of curvilinear, biomorphic forms and delicate, shimmering veils of light to depict the unseen forces she believed existed in nature. Pelton’s art was included in the 1913 Armory Show, but her decision to remove herself from the art world meant that even within her lifetime she was relatively unknown except for her participation in the short-lived Transcendental Paining Group (1938–1942). Its members, like Pelton, believed in numerology, astrology, and faith healing. Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist, the first survey of her work in more than 24 years, brings together approximately 40 paintings dating from 1917 to 1961 that will illuminate her artistic contribution to American Modernism and place her art within the context of international spiritual and esoteric abstraction.
Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist is organized by the Phoenix Art Museum, and curated by Gilbert Vicario, The Selig Family Chief Curator. The installation at the Whitney Museum is overseen by Barbara Haskell, curator, with Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant.
June 26 - September 20, 2020
This midcareer survey of Julie Mehretu (b. 1970, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) covers more than two decades of the artist’s examination of painting, history, geopolitics, and displacement. Including approximately 30 paintings and thirty-two works on paper dating from 1996 to today, the exhibition presents the most comprehensive overview to date of Mehretu’s practice and her explorations of abstraction, architecture, landscape, scale, and, most recently, figuration.
Julie Mehretu is co-organized by the Whitney and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The exhibition is curated by Christine Y. Kim, associate curator in contemporary art at LACMA, and Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator at the Whitney.
Opens Fall 2020
Jasper Johns has spent his seven-decade career redefining the mediums in which he has worked. In an unprecedented collaboration, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Philadelphia Museum of Art will stage a retrospective of Johns’s career across the two museums simultaneously that will feature painting, sculpture, drawings, prints, books, costumes, and set design.
Inspired by the artist’s long-standing fascination with mirroring and doubles, the two parts of the exhibition will reflect one another, presenting themes, methods, and images that reappear throughout both shows. Together and individually, the venues will offer viewers an immersive and innovative exploration of the artist’s fundamental working logic, as it devotes attention to the many phases, facets, and masterworks of Johns’s ongoing evolution.
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.
Dawoud Bey: An American Project
Opens November 2020
The Whitney Museum of American Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art are planning the first full-scale retrospective of Dawoud Bey’s career. A 2017 recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship, Bey is recognized as one of the most innovative and influential photographers of his generation. Beginning with his earliest body of work, Harlem, USA, which was exhibited at the Studio Museum of Harlem in 1979, Bey has worked primarily in portraiture, making tender and direct portrayals of black teenagers; bringing together neighbors whose paths might not otherwise have crossed; and rendering African-American history in a form at once lyrical and immediate. Since the beginning of his career, Bey has used his camera to represent communities and histories that have largely remained underrepresented or even unseen. He sees making art as not just a kind of personal expression but as an act of social and political responsibility, emphasizing the necessary work of artists and art institutions to break down obstacles to access, to convene communities, and open dialogue.
The exhibition is being co-curated by Corey Keller, curator of photography at SFMOMA, and Elisabeth Sherman, assistant curator at the Whitney.