Advance Exhibition Schedule
Jun 28, 2023–Feb 2024
Inheritance traces ideas of what we have been left with or received from the past across familial, historical, and aesthetic lines. Featuring mostly new acquisitions and works not frequently on view at the Museum, this exhibition explores ideas of (re)birth, (re)generation, repetition, and recursiveness through a diverse array of permanent collection works from the 1970s to today.
Drawing inspiration from Ephraim Asili’s 2020 film of the same title, Inheritance interweaves narrative with documentary, layering everyday, individual experiences atop historical and generational events. Rather than draw a distinction, the exhibition considers the notion of inheritance as a concept or method of transmission: from one time to the next, one person to the next, one idea to the next. Spanning the last six decades, the painting, sculpture, video, photography, and installation works on view ask us to consider what has been passed on, and how that may shift, change, or live again. Rather than blind acceptance of our current state, these works ask us to wonder what is beneath what we see, what previous ideas and experiences inform us, and fundamentally, how did we get here, as individuals and as a society?
Artists featured in this exhibition include Ephraim Asili, Sadie Barnette, Kevin Beasley, Diedrick Brackens, Beverly Buchanan, Widline Cadet, Andrea Carlson, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Ralston Crawford, Mary Beth Edelson, John Edmonds, Kevin Jerome Everson, Chitra Ganesh, Todd Gray, Wade Guyton, David Hartt, Emily Jacir, Wakeah Jhane, Mary Kelly, Deana Lawson, An-My Lê, Maggie Lee, Dindga McCannon, Ana Mendieta, Thaddeus Mosley, Lorraine O’Grady, Kambui Olujimi, John Outterbridge, Pat Phillips, Faith Ringgold, Sophie Rivera, Carissa Rodriguez, Cameron Rowland, Sturtevant, Hank Willis Thomas, Clarissa Tossin, WangShui, Kara Walker, Joan Wallace, Carrie Mae Weems, and Bruce and Norman Yonemoto.
This exhibition is organized by Rujeko Hockley, Arnhold Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
July 14–Oct 29, 2023
Ilana Savdie (b. 1986, raised in Barranquilla, Colombia and Miami, FL; based in Brooklyn, NY) explores themes of performance, transgression, identity, and power in her vibrant, large-scale paintings. Her canvases assemble fragments into finely detailed, fluid compositions that pulsate with flamboyant color. Abstracted forms conjoin, merge, and blend to create riotous excess. At their core, Savdie’s paintings aim to dismantle ideas of binary or fixed identity and embrace performance as a transformative tool.
For this exhibition, Savdie will present some of her latest work, including paintings and drawings, as well as new works produced for the Whitney. Drawing on a range of subjects and environments as source material, such as the Carnival celebrations that take place in Baranquilla, Colombia, Savdie explores variable textures and forms of mark-making across each of her expansive canvases. Combining areas of stained and blurred color with swaths of thick visible brushwork or smooth, hard-edged marks, she employs acrylic, oil, and beeswax into paintings characterized by their dreamlike illusion yet grounded in the physical body.
This exhibition will be on view in the Museum’s Lobby gallery, which is accessible to the public free of charge, as part of the Whitney Museum’s enduring commitment to support and showcase the most recent work of emerging American artists.
This exhibition is co-curated by Marcela Guerrero, Jennifer Rubio Associate Curator, and Angelica Arbelaez, Rubio Butterfield Family Fellow at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Aug 19–Nov 26, 2023
Trust Me imagines the reparative possibility of shared emotional experience, bringing together works by approximately twelve intergenerational artists from the Whitney’s permanent collection, including Moyra Davey, Lola Flash, Mary Manning, and D’Angelo Lovell Williams. Working against photography’s documentary impulse and the drive toward conceptual rigor, the images in the exhibition offer intuition and indeterminacy as viable creative modes and explore vulnerability as a fruitful ground from which to make and communicate meaning. Within and beyond the image, representations of familial and ancestral bonds, friendship, romantic partnership, and networks of influence and exchange establish connectivity—and therefore vulnerability—as an artistic and human imperative. Through intimate personal reflection and poetic attention to everyday objects, the artists in Trust Me ultimately reach out to an audience they cannot predict, gambling on the viewer’s openness to the experience at hand and the capacity of the image to carry it.
The exhibition is organized by Kelly Long, Senior Curatorial Assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Ruth Asawa Through Line
Sept 16, 2023–Jan 2024
Ruth Asawa Through Line is the first exhibition to examine Ruth Asawa’s oeuvre through the lens of her lifelong drawing practice. Co-organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Menil Collection, this presentation reveals the complexity and richness of the materials and processes she experimented with, emphasizing the foundational role that drawing played in developing her distinct visual language. While now widely recognized as a sculptor, Asawa (1926–2013) practiced drawing daily, referring to the act as her “greatest pleasure and the most difficult.” Through drawing, Asawa explored the world around her and the boundaries of the medium itself, turning everyday encounters into moments of profound beauty and endowing ordinary objects with new aesthetic possibilities.
Positioning drawings, collages, and watercolors alongside stamped prints, copper foil works, and sketchbooks, the exhibition will expose the breadth of Asawa’s innovative practice through over one hundred works from public and private collections, many of which have not been previously exhibited. Organized thematically, the presentation will begin with foundational lessons the artist absorbed and built upon at Black Mountain College in the late 1940s. Subsequent galleries will examine the function of repetition and the development of specific motifs and approaches—from the Greek meander to the paper fold—and how they recur throughout her work. The exhibition will show how drawing emerged as a cornerstone of Asawa’s practice in San Francisco, later becoming a key component of her role as an educator and community leader in the Bay Area. Surveying the artist’s impressive range and expansive approach, Ruth Asawa Through Line will offer an unparalleled window into Asawa’s exploratory and resourceful approach to materials, line, surface, and space.
This exhibition is co-organized by Kim Conaty, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawings and Prints at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Edouard Kopp, John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Chief Curator of the Menil Drawing Institute, with Scout Hutchinson, Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Museum, and Kirsten Marples, Curatorial Associate at the Menil Drawing Institute. After the exhibition closes at the Whitney, it will travel to the Menil Drawing Institute in Houston.
Henry Taylor: B Side
Oct 4, 2023–Jan 2024
Henry Taylor: B Side is the first exhibition to survey the career of leading contemporary artist Henry Taylor (b. 1958, based in Los Angeles). Through painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation, this retrospective celebrates an artist widely appreciated for his unique aesthetic, social vision, and freewheeling experimentation. Taylor’s figurative work, populated by friends, relatives, strangers on the street, athletes, politicians, and entertainers, showcases an imagination that encompasses multiple worlds. Informed by experience, his work conveys fundamental empathy through close examination and sharp social criticism. Henry Taylor: B Side is the largest exhibition of Taylor’s work to date, with over 150 works from the late-1980s to the present.
Though Taylor is renowned for his portraiture, his work encompasses many genres and moves through influences. Within this stylistic diversity, Taylor’s attention to Black Americans and to various conditions of Black America comes into focus in ways that are deep-feeling, witty, joyful, and concerned.
Organized thematically, Henry Taylor: B Side highlights several of the artist’s major subjects. Among them: his family members and artistic community, street scenes from Los Angeles and beyond, icons of politics and the music world (including portraits of Eldridge Cleaver, Barack and Michelle Obama, and Jay-Z), and often wrenching encounters with racism, policing, and American history. In addition to paintings, the exhibition includes a selection of Taylor’s assemblage sculptures, rarely-seen early drawings of patients at the Camarillo State Mental Hospital (where the artist worked while a student at the California Institute of the Arts in the early 1990s), and a large grouping of his “painted objects,” pointed observations rendered on recycled cigarette packs, cereal boxes, and other everyday supports.
This exhibition is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), in Los Angeles, and curated by Bennett Simpson, Senior Curator, with Anastasia Kahn, Curatorial Assistant, at MOCA. The presentation at the Whitney Museum of Art is organized by Barbara Haskell, Curator at the Whitney.
Oct 4, 2023–Jan 2024
In fall 2023, the Whitney Museum of American Art will present the first solo exhibition of artist, experimental filmmaker, and groundbreaking music ethnologist Harry Smith (1923–1991), whose compendium of song recordings, the Anthology of American Folk Music, laid the groundwork for the popularization of folk music in the 1960s. This exhibition introduces Smith’s life and work within a museum setting for the first time and includes paintings, drawings, experimental films, designs, and examples of Smith’s collecting alongside his historic folk music collection. Seen throughout this hybrid display of art and ephemera are signs of the esoteric, fantastic, and alternative cosmologies basic to Smith’s view of culture. The exhibition proposes new ways to experience diverse strains of 20th-century American cultural histories.
Over the course of fifty years, Smith made renegade and innovative use of the changing recording and distribution technologies, from his voracious approach to record collecting to experiments with early tape-recording systems to groundbreaking manipulations of abstraction and collage in film. Smith was a pioneer in collecting, organizing, and sequencing images and artifacts that structure the ways we understand and share culture and experiences today. He created a life and practice outside of institutions and capitalism, offering an eccentric model for engagement with a society today even further dominated by these systems. Vitally, Smith brought to light and wrestled with—sometimes imperfectly—facets of America’s rich histories, tracing and sharing underappreciated veins of culture often invisible to mainstream society. Very much outside of his time, Smith nonetheless created his own rich vein of American culture that says more about this country, its arts, and its diverse creative communities than nearly any other artist of his time.
The exhibition, designed in partnership with artist Carol Bove, distills his remarkable and varied production into a number of distinct sculptural spaces. Smith’s early hand-painted abstract films, his film of Seminole textiles, and Andy Warhol’s Screen Test of Smith will be presented alongside stills from the liner notes of the Anthology of American Folk Music. The exhibition will zig-zag through displays of Smith’s personal collection of ephemera and archival materials to survey the artist’s life. The artist’s rarely-seen final film Mahagonny (1970–80) creates a portrait of urban America with a mesmerizing, hectic, and repetitive showcase of four films presented simultaneously while an original score from the Brecht-Weill opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny (1930) plays at high volume. A small black box theater will immerse visitors in Smith’s collage film, Heaven and Earth Magic (1957–62), and other audio-visual works. Finally, this exhibition will offer a unique listening environment where visitors can explore the Anthology of American Folk Music along with interviews from Smith himself.
This exhibition is co-organized by The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, where a version of the project will open in November 2024. The exhibition is curated by artist Carol Bove; Dan Byers, the John R. and Barbara Robinson Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts; Rani Singh, Director of the Harry Smith Archives; Elisabeth Sussman, Curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at the Whitney Museum of American Art; with Kelly Long, Senior Curatorial assistant at the Whitney Museum of American Art.