Whitney Museum of American Art

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The Whitney Museum of American Art, known informally as the "Whitney", is an art museum in Manhattan. It was founded in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, a wealthy and prominent American socialite and art patron after whom it is named. The Whitney focuses on 20th- and 21st-century American art.

Auction Previews & News

4 Results
  • Artists
    Masters on the Market: Alma Thomas

    Photograph of Alma Thomas. Image from the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1960, after nearly 40 years as an art teacher, Alma Thomas retired to focus on her own work. She'd achieved some success as an artist before then. However, it was during these later years that she began her experiments with color and abstraction that collectors know her for today.  Despite the gender and racial barriers she faced, along with a worsening case of arthritis, Alma Thomas and her colorful artworks earned recognition across the United States. In 1972, for example, she became the first Black American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. "Through color I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness in my painting rather than on man's inhumanity to man," said Alma Thomas of her work.  Alma's Flower Garden, a painting the artist made of her Washington D.C. garden, recently sold for a record-breaking USD 2.8 million. Some experts, however, were upset by this development. The sale was part of the Greenville County Museum of Art’s controversial deaccessioning process, and the buyer’s identity is unknown. It's now unclear when (or if) the painting will be back in public view.  Who was Alma Thomas? And what does this recent sale mean for her artworks going forward? Auction Daily takes a closer look. An untitled watercolor by Alma Thomas. Photo from Treadway. Alma Thomas’ Life and Work Thomas was born in Columbus, Georgia, in 1891. Her love of nature and its wide spectrum of colors began with the view from her home in Columbus. Her family eventually moved to Washington D.C., and Thomas grew up to become the first graduate of Howard University's art department in 1924. Alma Thomas became a beloved art teacher for many decades and was also pivotal in establishing the first unsegregated art gallery in Washington D.C., Barnett-Aden Gallery. In the 1940s, she became a part of The Little Paris Group, a community of Black artists in the capital organized by Loïs Mailou Jones. The following decade, Thomas began learning from and…

  • Exhibitions
    Whitney opens first U.S. solo exhibition of Madeline Hollander

    Madeline Hollander (b. 1986), Flatwing, 2019. Video, color, sound, 16:25 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Film and Video Committee 2020.97. © Madeline Hollander. NEW YORK, NY.- Madeline Hollander: Flatwing, the first U.S. solo museum exhibition of multi-disciplinary artist Madeline Hollander, opened at the Whitney on March 25, 2021 and is on view through August 8, 2021. The exhibition features Flatwing (2019), the artist’s first video installation, which explores the emergence of silent flat-wing crickets on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Flatwing, recently acquired for the Whitney’s collection, is accompanied by a display of diagrams, drawings, and research materials created by the artist in the process of making the film. The exhibition also debuts a new sound installation based on the correlation between temperature and the frequency at which crickets chirp. Hollander’s multidisciplinary practice examines concepts of movement, pattern, gesture, environment, and climate change. The artist’s performance work Ouroboros Gs, featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, choreographed the installation of a portion of the Whitney’s flood mitigation system, exploring the adaptations of the Museum itself in the face of the climate crisis. “We're delighted to welcome Madeline Hollander back to the Whitney so close on the heels of her breakout performance in the 2019 Biennial," said Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator. "The Whitney believes deeply in sustained and intimate dialogues with artists, and it's a real privilege to be able to present an entirely different facet of such a pioneering young artist's work. In her gorgeous and eerie video Flatwing, Hollander trains her choreographic interests on another species and places us in the ever-shifting space where hypothesis and belief merge.” Flatwing records the artist’s nocturnal journey through Kauai’s rainforest, and her futile attempt to find and record the movements of the silent crickets. Running at just over 16 minutes and shot with an infrared camera, Hollander’s footage captures many creatures of the rainforest’s nightscape—including a frog, a chicken, and various insects—in pink, red, and purple infrared light; but no crickets are to be found. Hollander presents the crickets’…

  • Auction Industry
    Artist to Know: Zarina Hashmi

    Christie’s Presents Minimalist Prints Exploring the Concept of Home Indian-American artist Zarina Hashmi, known professionally as ‘Zarina,’ spent a lifetime in transience. Born in Aligarh, India, Zarina often traveled around the world, settling and resettling in Bangkok, Tokyo, Delhi, Paris, Los Angeles, and New York. Her art engaged primarily with the Minimalist movement, employing woodblock prints of crosshatched lines and unidentified shapes. Always, though, Zarina circled back to the physical and emotional qualities of a home.  “I do not feel at home anywhere,” she said, “but the idea of home follows me wherever I go.”  To mark her recent passing, Christie’s will open the upcoming South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art auction with a portfolio of seven Zarina Hashmi artist prints. Bidding will take place on September 23rd, 2020, at 11:30 AM EDT. Find out more about the artist before the sale begins. Zarina Hashmi. Image from Ram Rahman for The New York Times. Zarina’s childhood revolved around her family’s home in Aligarh, a space that would inspire her for years to come. At ten years old, Zarina experienced the Partition of India that split the former British colony into present-day India and Pakistan. Though her family was temporarily displaced by the change, they soon returned to a degree of stability on the Indian side of the border. However, the Partition left a lasting impact, one that art critic Holland Cotter suggests “cut her loose from her roots and haunted her life and work.”  It was not until her early 20s that Zarina began developing her artistic style and themes. She earned a degree in mathematics, joined a flying club, and learned to appreciate city architecture from the height of the clouds. These experiences drew her toward Minimalism, then in its post-war infancy. Zarina learned printmaking techniques from Stanley William Hayter in Paris and Toshi Yoshida in Tokyo while traveling with her diplomat husband. Zarina, House with Four Walls, 1991. Image from Christie’s. Zarina began exploring the capacity of printmaking, developing her signature style after settling in New York in the late 1970s. She made prints with pieces of driftwood,…

  • Exhibitions
    Beyond the wall: a golden period of exchange between Mexican and US artists is revisited in new show

    Whitney Museum exhibition will explore the enduring influence of artists such as David Alfaro Siqueiros on US counterparts including Jackson Pollock and Philip Guston José Clemente Orozco’s Mexican Revolution work Barricade (1931) Photo: Courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art; © The Estate of Philip Guston, courtesy McKee Gallery The profound influence Mexican artists had on the American avant-garde in the two decades following the end of the Mexican Revolution in 1920 is to be revealed this month in a groundbreaking exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art 1925-45, which explores the overlooked creative exchange between Mexican and US artists in that era, will “reorient the understanding of art history”, says the show’s curator Barbara Haskell. The exhibition will juxtapose around 200 works of art and delineate the political and artistic alliance of around 60 artists. “In these 20 years, art truly had a social role; its mission was to be accessible, to engage with everyday life and to create a better world,” Haskell says. “The myth of the revolution as a heroic fight of social justice—and the idea of Mexico as this authentic and idyllic place, as opposed to the fragmented modernity of the US—must have seemed exhilarating to American artists,” she says. A major part of the show will be devoted to David Alfaro Siqueiros, who was expelled from Mexico in 1932 for his political activism and was “one of the more radical and experimental of the Mexican artists who came to the US”, Haskell says. Siqueiros founded the Siqueiros Experimental Workshop in 1936 in New York, where students including a young Jackson Pollock worked with unorthodox materials such as cement and cigarette butts. “When you see a work by Pollock from the late 1930s next to a work by Siqueiros, the influence is clear,” Haskell says. Jackson Pollock's Landscape with Steer (around 1936-37) The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence The exhibition will detail the controversial history of Siqueiros’s 1932 Los Angeles mural América Tropical: Oprimida y Destrozada por los Imperialismos (Tropical America: oppressed and destroyed by Imperialism). The work’s patrons…