The radical, inventive art of Jasper Johns (b. 1930) continues to influence today’s artists like few others. In an unprecedented collaboration, the Whitney and the Philadelphia Museum of Art will stage a simultaneous retrospective—the largest of Johns’s seven-decade career—that offers a fresh take on the living legend. From his iconic flags to lesser-known and recent works, the exhibition will feature paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints—nearly five hundred artworks across the two museums, many of which are from Johns’s personal collection and will be shown publicly for the first time.
On April 29, 2021, the Whitney announced the completion of David Hammons’s permanent public sculpture Day’s End (2021), one of the largest public art projects completed in the United States this year. Located in Hudson River Park along the southern edge of Gansevoort Peninsula, directly across from the Museum, Day’s End was developed in collaboration with the artist and Hudson River Park Trust. The sculpture derives its inspiration and name from multi-media artist Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1975 intervention in which he cut openings into the existing, abandoned Pier 52 shed. With exquisite simplicity, Hammons’s artwork traces the outlines, dimensions, and location of the original Pier 52 shed in slender steel pipes. Visible from numerous vantage points at the Museum and from multiple locations along the Hudson River Park promenade, the sculpture measures 52 feet high at its peak, 325 feet long, and 65 feet wide.
Dawoud Bey (b.1953, Queens, NY) has committed more than four decades to photographing underrepresented subjects and fostering dialogue that addresses African American history and contemporary society and politics. The artist’s first retrospective in twenty-five years, An American Project,, explores the arc of Bey’s career from 1975 to 2017 through nearly eighty works across eight major series. Reflecting the evolution of Bey’s vision, the exhibition examines his enduring engagement with portraiture, place, and history. From early portraits in Harlem and classic street photography to multi-panel studio portraits and nocturnal landscapes, Bey has consistently focused his lens on Black individuals, foregrounding the uniqueness of his subjects while reflecting the profound and ongoing effects of the history of the United States. Co-organized with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, An American Project will be on view at the Whitney from April 17, 2021 through October 3, 2021. The exhibition is co-curated by Corey Keller, curator of photography at SFMOMA, and Elisabeth Sherman, assistant curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Co-organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art, Julie Mehretu is a midcareer survey that will unite more than seventy paintings and works on paper dating from 1996 to the present, reflecting the breadth of Mehretu’s multilayered practice. Born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 1970 and based in New York City, Mehretu has created new forms and found unexpected resonances by drawing on the histories of art and human civilization. Her play with scale and technique, as evident in intimate drawings, large canvases, and complex forms of printmaking, will be explored in depth.
Filling the Whitney’s entire fifth floor gallery, the exhibition will take advantage of the expansive and open space to create dramatic vistas of Mehretu’s often panoramic paintings. The first-ever comprehensive survey of Mehretu’s career, Julie Mehretu is organized by Christine Y. Kim, curator of contemporary art at LACMA, with Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator at the Whitney. The installation at the Whitney is overseen by Hockley and on view from March 25 through August 8, 2021.
Salman Toor’s first solo museum exhibition—originally scheduled to open in March 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic—will be presented by the Whitney Museum of American Art from November 13, 2020 to April 4, 2021. Primarily making intimate oil-on-panel works, Toor expands the tradition of figurative painting by melding sketch-like immediacy with disarming detail to create affecting views of young, queer Brown men living in New York City and South Asia. Salman Toor: How Will I Know is part of the Whitney’s emerging artists program, which most recently included solo shows by Kevin Beasley and Eckhaus Latta, and will be on view in the first-floor John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation Gallery, which is accessible to the public free-of-charge.
The much anticipated exhibition, Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop will finally unveil at The Whitney on November 21st. This groundbreaking exhibition features over 150 photographs by fourteen early members of the Kamoinge Workshop, nine of whom are living and working today.
The exhibition pays homage to Gordon Matta-Clark’s legendary Day’s End (1975) and features works by twenty-two artists who engaged with the Meatpacking District and West Side piers, among other downtown Manhattan locations, in the 1970s and early 1980s. Around Day’s End also anticipates David Hammons’s monumental public artwork Day’s End, located directly across from the Whitney Museum in Hudson River Park. Drawn primarily from the Whitney’s collection, the exhibition is organized by Laura Phipps, assistant curator, with Christie Mitchell, senior curatorial assistant, and runs through October 25, 2020.
Pope.L: Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration, is a trio of exhibitions organized by The Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Public Art Fund. Utilizing both public and private spaces, the expansive presentation addresses many elements of the artist’s oeuvre, from singular early works to a monumental new installation and a new large-scale performative work inspired by the artist’s iconic crawl series on the streets of New York City. Let’s begin there, with the Public Art Fund and Pope. L: conquest on September 21, 2019.
The first solo museum show of Jason Moran (b. 1975, Houston, Texas), the interdisciplinary artist who grounds his work in music composition, has made its debut at the Whitney. The exhibition, Jason Moran, presents the range of art Moran has explored, from his sculptures and drawings to collaborations with visual artists to performance and video.