Friday, April 15, 2016

Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection Opening on April 27

Rachel Harrison (b. 1966).  Untitled, (2011) Colored pencil on paper, Sheet: 19 × 24in. (48.3 × 61 cm) Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Drawing Committee  2012.81 © Courtesy of the artist and Greene Naftali, New York

The Whitney Museum of American Art will be presenting a collection celebrating portraits over the past 100 years. The exhibit is titled Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney's Collection. All of the works on exhibition are drawn entirely from the Museum's collection.  It will feature over 300 works made from 1900 to 2016 by more than 200 artists. 

The show will be organized in twelve sections on two floors. The exhibition will be on display April 27, 2016 - February 12, 2017 though a partial view of the exhibit began April 7. See below for just a few of the fantastic works that will be on exhibit and for more info about the exhibit.

Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney's Collection
April 27, 2016 - February 12, 2017
99 Gansevoort Street
New York, NY
Tickets: HERE or become a Member HERE
(212) 570-3600

Human Interest is curated by Scott Rothkopf, Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, and Dana Miller, Richard DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Permanent Collection, with Mia Curran, curatorial assistant; Jennie Goldstein, assistant curator; and Sasha Nicholas, consulting curator. 

“For the first reinstallation of the collection in our new building, we wanted to do something bold and distinctly Whitney. Our collection includes literally thousands of portraits, dating from the founding of the Museum to just this year,” said Scott Rothkopf. “The challenging and exciting part was to present these works with a new twist, according to inventive frameworks, and to show how artists have continually redefined one of art’s oldest genres.” 

Dana Miller noted, “In selecting a single theme, we wanted to mix well known works with those that are less familiar. We’ve included a significant number of works that are new to the collection and others that have rarely, if ever, been exhibited. Across the one hundred years of art represented, we find artists grappling with notions of gender, sexuality, race, age, and beauty—and each one of these works provokes us to reconsider the ways in which we see ourselves.” 

Once a rarified luxury good, portraits are now ubiquitous. Readily reproducible and ever-more accessible, photography has played a particularly vital role in the democratization of portraiture, and will be strongly represented in the exhibition. Most recently, the proliferation of smartphones and the rise of social media have unleashed an unprecedented stream of portraits in the form of selfies and other online posts. Many contemporary artists confront this situation, stressing the fluidity of identity in a world where technology and the mass-media are omnipresent. Through their varied takes on the portrait, the artists in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection demonstrate the vitality of this enduring genre, which serves as a compelling lens through which to view some of the most important social and artistic developments of the past century.
Chuck Close, Lyle, 1999. Oil on canvas. Whitney Museum of American Art; Gift of The American Contemporary Art Foundation, Inc., Leonard A. Lauder, President. © Chuck Close, courtesy Pace Gallery

Toyo Miyatake, Michio Ito, 1929. Gelatin silver print. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Photography Committee. ©Toyo Miyatake Studio

Alice Neel, Elsie Rubin, c. 1958. Oil on canvas board. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Elaine Graham Weitzen. © The Estate of Alice Neel 

Elizabeth Peyton, Live to Ride (E.P.), 2003. Oil on board. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of David Teiger in honor of Chrissie Iles. © Elizabeth Peyton. Courtesy Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels