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Teaching Fellow Remote Talks for Groups

Collection Themed Talks

These sessions led by Whitney’s Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows highlights works in the Museum's collection to illuminate critical topics in American art from 1900 to the present.

Art and Social Change

Art always exists in relation to its particular social moment. Whether representing the current reality or leveraging its power to challenge cultural narratives, it can inspire emotional responses and critical thinking in a way distinct from traditional political methods. Through work in the Whitney’s collection, we will explore the different roles art has played in twentieth century United States, addressing issues from immigration, to economic justice, to sexism, and racism.

Abstract Art in America

Nonrepresentational art has meant different things to different artists throughout American art history. This session presents a range of artists who have used abstract language to explore human perception, emotion, embodied experience, and more. It covers the early influence of Cubism and the American Abstract Artists union in the 1930s as well as the work of Abstract Expressionists, Minimalists, and artists associated with the 1960s civil rights movement.

Stories from the Collection

Taking an expansive view of what an icon of American art can be, this session will take a new look at the Whitney’s collection and how it developed. The art in the Museum speaks to social, political, and artistic developments that have come to define—and to complicate—the term “American” in American art history throughout the first half of the twentieth century.

Exhibition Talks 

These sessions led by Whitney’s Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows explore topics raised in the museum’s current exhibitions. See current exhibitions here

Specialized Talks 

Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows developed these specialized talks bringing their individual scholarship to bear on important issues engaged by artists in the collection.

What Makes a Photograph?
Talk by Ayanna Dozier

Photography is both the most accessible and inaccessible art in a museum's collection. Almost all of us have captured personal images with phones or cameras, a commonality that in turn creates skepticism of institutionally recognized photography. We might ask, what makes that photograph artistic compared to the work that I do? This session will examine key historical and technological shifts in the photographic medium through selected artworks in the Whitney's collection by artists including John Edmunds, Dawoud Bey, Adrian Piper, James Rosenquist, and James Van Der Zee.

Collective Memory in Contemporary Black Art
Talk by Ayanna Dozier            

This session looks at the ways contemporary Black artists draw on collective memory to play with, challenge, and transform notions of identity. We will consider works from the collection by artists such as Faith Ringgold, Betye Saar, Kerry James Marshall, Tomashi Jackson, and Caulleen Smith, to explore how these artists subvert the canon of American art and culture.

When did Video Become Art?
Talk by Ayanna Dozier            

As early as 1966—only one year after video cameras became commercially available for personal or artistic use—the Whitney established a gallery capable of screening state of the art film and video projection. As one of the first art museums to have the technology and flexible screening space for video art, the museum was a pioneer in foregrounding video as a 'serious' artistic medium. This session will examine key moving image artworks in the museum’s collection by artists such as Joan Jonas, Bruce Nauman, and Howardina Pindell, and explore their role in contributing to the understanding of video within art history.

Queer Belonging
Talk by Josh Lubin-Levy

This session knits together works from the Whitney’s collection to explore LGBTQ perspectives on gender, sexuality and desire. Looking at a range of artists, including Nayland Blake, Marlon Riggs, Martin Wong, and Zoe Leonard, the session will examine the way art has been a powerful tool in documenting and building queer communities.

Me, Myself, and I
Talk by Josh Lubin-Levy

The old genre of self-portraiture has grown exponentially in our selfie-driven age. This session will explore how, from the seemingly isolated space of the home or studio, artists including Ana Mendieta, Paul Mpagi Sepuya and Adrian Piper have used photographic self-portraiture to reflect on, perform and expand our understanding of the self.

Asian American Perspectives
Talk by Xin Wang        

This session will explore work by American artists of Asian descent, including Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Martin Wong, Ching Ho Cheng, and An-My Le, alongside artworks that engage with aspects of “Asian-ness” by artists from other backgrounds, such as Roy Lichtenstein and Ed Ruscha. Looking at these works together, we will consider what it means for an ethnic and cultural identity to be the frame through which we experience and understand representation and artistic expression.

Technology and Fantasy
Talk by Xin Wang        

In the twenty-first century, we find ourselves in increasingly media-saturated and mediated realities. This session explores how artists such as Cory Arcangel, Nam June Paik, Lynn Hershman Leeson, and Laurie Simmons have addressed the changing nature of the self within these experiences. We will consider a range of artistic mediums—from photography to video installations to games—to explore technology’s role in both limiting and generating new kinds of agency for art-makers and viewers alike. 

Teaching Fellow Bios

Ayanna Dozier is an artist, lecturer, curator, and scholar. She recently completed her Ph.D. in art history and communication Studies at McGill University. She is the author of the 33 ⅓ book on Janet Jackson’s The Velvet Rope. She is currently a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney and a lecturer in the department of communication and media studies at Fordham University.

Josh Lubin-Levy is a Joan Tisch Senior Teaching Fellow at the Whitney and recently completed his Ph.D. in Performance Studies at NYU. For the past ten years, Lubin-Levy has worked as a dance dramaturg and performance curator. He currently teaches in the department of Visual Studies at the New School. 

Xin Wang is a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum and a Ph.D. candidate in modern and contemporary art at The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU.  She is the curator of numerous exhibitions in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Her latest writings have appeared in Art in America, Art Agenda, and Wallpaper (Chinese edition). She is currently planning an exhibition that explores Asian Futurisms for The Museum of Chinese in America in New York City.  



A 30-second online art project:
LaTurbo Avedon, Morning Mirror / Evening Mirror

Learn more

All visitors aged 12 and older must show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for admission to the Whitney, in accordance with NYC requirements. Visitors aged 18 and older will also be asked to show photo ID. Face coverings are required for all visitors. Learn more about the Whitney’s safety guidelines.