All posts tagged: Kiki Smith

The New Whitney Opens May 1 – “America Is Hard To See”

The New Whitney Opens May 1 – “America Is Hard To See”

The stunning new Whitney Museum opens tomorrow, May 1st, in the Meat Packing District of lower Manhattan and you will be overwhelmed to see the last 115 years or so of artistic expression in America on display for the exhibit “America Is Hard To See”. 400 artists of every discipline and many art movements during your life and your great grandparents are here – from film and video to painting and sculpture and new media and photography, from abstract, figurative, text based, landscapes, and our own visual jazz – abstract expressionism – you’ll be exhausted when you are through with this show.

You’ll also be energized by the sense of sheer possibility presented – and the amount of space and the many outdoor plaza views. This is a new jewel in New York, and you have discovered it.


Donal Moffett. He Kills Me, 1987. The artist printed this poster and wheat pasted it on walls across New York City as a critique of President Reagan’s silence towards the AIDS epidemic. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We don’t get a new museum every day, but tomorrow you do, and it is rather spectacular to be privileged this way in this city of constant change. No matter your perspective, you will find the inaugural show to be vast. You are certain to like or disagree or applaud or dish with someone here, and it is all strangely American – Here is just a partial sampling of names showing about 600 works that should whet your appetite; Vito Acconci, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Rory Arcangel, John Baldessari, Mathew Barney, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Paul Cadmus, Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Imogen Cunningham, Willem de Kooning, Mark di Suvero, Elsie Driggs, William Eggleston, Anna Gaskell, Milton Glaser, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, George Grosz, Keith Haring, Eva Hesse, Edward Hopper, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Rober Mapplethorpe, Gordon Matta-Clark, Paul McCarthy, Joan Mitchell, Donal Moffett, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O’Keefe, Jose Clemente Orozco, Nam June Paik, Jackon Pollock, Richard Prince, Christina Ramberg, Robert Raushenberg, Hans Richter, Mark Rothko, Edward Ruscha, David Salle, Dread Scott, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith, Frank Stella, Hedda Sterne, Alfred Stieglitz, Rirkrit Tiravanjia, Anne Truit, Cy Twombly, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Weegee, William Wegman, Gertude Vanderbuilt Whitney, David Wojnarowicz, Francesca Woodman, Andrew Wyeth.


Barbara Kruger. Untitled. (We Don’t Need Another Hero), 1987. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You’ll look through that list and want to add some of your own of course, everyone does. Despite the revered Biennial which periodically bowls you over with new talent, some still find that there are not enough of certain social groups represented, and that is probably fair.

We find it somewhat alarming that 50+ years of graffiti and street art is only minimally represented here –  especially when it has become one of the hugely praised cultural exports to cities around the world and it is highly collected and ever-more auctioned. Talk about American! New York is considered a birthplace for the urban art scene and we can recommend a short list of these artists who are daily defining a new contemporary art for serious consideration. Yes this show has Haring, Basquiat, Kruger – acknowledged. But a great deal has happened in the last two decades. Maybe now that formally trained artists are frequently killing it on the streets in the 2000s and 2010s we will see more of these names included as part of the American story in the future. In fact, there is no doubt.


Glenn Ligon. Ruckenfigure, 2009 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The striking new modern home by Renzo Piano is twice the size of the old one and some of the views from the museum of this city that you love may rob your attention briefly from the art displayed inside. The inaugural show up until September is called America is Hard to See, and at $22 a ticket, so is the new Whitney Museum of American Art. That price may not seem like much when you consider it would get you four hours rent in a market rate one-bedroom in this neighborhood. But in a city where workers are fighting for a $15 minimum wage we’d like to see it accessible to more New Yorkers as it is the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States. Just had to say it. Hopefully they will find a way to institute frequent “pay what you want” nights, and to be fair, students get in FREE every day.

But this is your museum, and we hope you add your voice to the discussion.

Meanwhile, join us as we say “Welcome to the New Whitney!”


George Segal. Walk, Don’t Walk, 1976 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


George Segal. Walk, Don’t Walk, 1976 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Christopher Wool. Untitled, 1990 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Edward Ruscha. Large Trademark with Eight Spotlights, 1962 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


John Baldessari. An Artist Is Not Merely the Slavish Announcer, 1966-68 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mike Kelly. More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin, 1987 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Lee Krasner. The Seasons, 1957 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


From left to right: Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


General view of one of the galleries. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mary Heilmann. Sunset, detail. Site specific installation. 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


The back yard. The view from the back of the building. (photo © Jaime Rojo)



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Streets at the Table for Artists Ball at Brooklyn Museum

Streets at the Table for Artists Ball at Brooklyn Museum

Five years into it, The Brooklyn Artists Ball has become a glittering spectacle that speaks to the traditional, the contemporary, and the beat on the street. This years greatest hits collection not only features new elaborate installations by three of Brooklyn’s celebrated Street Artists of this century, Swoon, Olek, and Faile, the custom created environments from equally charged modern thinkers like Jennifer Catron & Paul Outlaw, Fernando Mastrangelo, Duke Riley, SITU Studio, Dustin Yellin and Pioneer Works all speak to the undeniable emergence of the Brooklyn influence on the contemporary art scene.


Man of the hour amidst an explosion of color; This Dr. Arnold Lehman cut-out from the museum’s photo archive will be displayed in multiples and will probably be the visual element that generates the highest number of selfies. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The sky-lit Beaux-Arts Court hosts the dinner that serves as fundraiser, exhibition, and aesthetic theme park, with each artist or collective given tables to adorn and transform. With the guests touring the tables, meeting the artists, watching the awards ceremony and placing bids on the live auction, some guests may forget to eat. This crescendo of course is a celebratory tribute to the museums’ retiring director Arnold Lehman, who effectively has opened the doors to wider audiences and welcomed participation and collaboration during his nearly 20-year tenure – boldly taking risks and diplomatically shepherding the enormous institution into a contemporary relevance envied by some and which now routinely makes guests and patrons enthusiastic, engaged, and dare we say it, proud.

Here are some behind the scenes preparations for the dinner that will honor Lehman and artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Takashi Murakami, and Kiki Smith. In addition to the dinner there is a temporary exhibition of 125 exceptional works of art collected during Lehman’s tenure and a full-on dance party with more installations and which is curated by Fool’s Gold, the independent record label based in Brooklyn. We visited the museum early in the week to catch up with the artists as they were creating their tables – below are shots of the works in progress. None of the tables were completed yet so the images reflect the tables in process.


Swoon’s display includes the original models used for many of her projects, including these two for her Submerged Motherlands exhibit last year at The Brooklyn Museum (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Swoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

People dining at this Swoon table will see maquettes of the three boats she sailed with merry Brooklyn anarchists across the Adriatic to triumphantly arrive at the 2009 Venice Biennale.


Swoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Swoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Swoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)


A view of the Braddock Tiles model from Swoon and her project in Braddock, PA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Olek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn’s Olek is transforming two tables with her signature crochet vocabulary to incorporate elements paying homage to honorees Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kiki Smith and Takashi Murakami.


Olek and Basquiat, whose notebooks are currently on exhibit here. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Olek and Murakami (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Olek (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Oh, they’re calling that a soul now? Olek (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Crochet Goddess Olek at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Faile (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn’s Faile illuminate: Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller have a concept for their tables that includes turning them into giant light boxes where patrons are going to dine while looking at iconic film from their silk screen work. Street art followers will recognize many of these images from their work on the street.


Patrick and Patrick constructing their light table (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Faile (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Faile (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Z Behl (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Z Behl’s table is a multi-part female trickster and her chariot – is one of three tables being presented by Pioneer Works/Dustin Yellin.


Z Behl (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Z Behl (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Brooklyn’s Duke Riley, whose waterborne performance projects around New York have frequently landed him in trouble with the authorities, will send some guests out to sea. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Duke Riley (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Duke Riley (photo © Jaime Rojo)


A surrealistic “collaboration” between a reflective Arnold and the gilded Olek. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Tickets for the Ball are sold out. There are still tickets available for the Dance Party.



Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!



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