Jun 28, 2023–Feb 4, 2024

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Inheritance traces the profound impacts of legacy and the past across familial, historical, and aesthetic lines. Featuring new acquisitions and rarely-seen works from the Whitney collection by forty-three leading artists, the exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs, and time-based media installations from the 1970s to today. This diverse array of works consider what has been passed on and how it may shift, change, or live again.

Drawing inspiration from Ephraim Asili’s 2020 film of the same title, Inheritance reflects on multiple meanings of the word, whether celebratory or painful, from one era, person, or idea to the next. The exhibition takes a layered approach to storytelling by interweaving narrative with documentary and personal experiences with historical and generational events. A group of works examining the cycle from birth to death opens the exhibition, while other galleries take up different kinds of lineages, such as how artists borrow from and remake art history or unspool legacies of racialized violence and their recurrences.

The poet Rio Cortez speaks of being “framed by our future knowing”—even as we sit in this moment, we slide backward and forward in time, between our foremothers and the descendants we will never know. Rather than passively accepting our current state, the artists whose work is on view here ask: How did we get here, as individuals and as a society, and where are we going?

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, Sherrie Levine, 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, Kara Walker, Joan Wallace, Carrie Mae Weems, WangShui, and Bruce and Norman Yonemoto.

This exhibition is organized by Rujeko Hockley, Arnhold Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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