human whitney


Final weekend! It’s your last chance to see the full two-floor exhibition Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection, which mines the Museum’s holdings to offer new perspectives on one of art’s oldest genres. See works by Glenn Ligon, Alice Neel, and Andy Warhol, among others. Floor 7 will remain on view through April 2. 

The signs as '80s love songs
  • Aries: Tainted Love - Soft Cell
  • Taurus: Straight Up - Paula Abdul
  • Gemini: Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds
  • Cancer: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - Wham!
  • Leo: Come On Eileen - Dexys Midnight Runners
  • Virgo: Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield
  • Libra: Take My Breath Away - Berlin
  • Scorpio: Africa - Toto
  • Sagittarius: Start Me Up - The Rolling Stones
  • Capricorn: How Will I Know - Whitney Houston
  • Aquarius: Don't You Want Me - The Human League
  • Pisces: Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper

“Left Right Left Right (1995), a piece by Annette Lemieux at the Whitney Museum that consists of 30 images of raised fists, has been turned upside-down at the artist’s request in light of the outcome of last week’s US presidential election !

30 photolithographs and 30 pine poles, dimensions variable.

Issue 6 of Giant Days is out this week!
There are still more issues to look forward to, but this marks my last issue as artist. The decision to step down was mine, and it was not made easily. Working on this book was such a rewarding experience! Everyone i worked with was AMAZING, and response to the book has been so incredibly positive. I’m so, SO appreciative of everyone who’s read it, talked about it, given it a passing glance on a shelf, shared breathing space with it, everything. I’ve learned and grown so much as an artist working on this book. Comics are in my blood now so look for plenty more from me in the future :)

When I signed on to draw this book, it was planned as a six issue run. I work a full-time day job as a board artist, and i knew that drawing a comic is a job in and of itself, but it was something i’d always wanted to do and i’m such a big fan of John’s so i couldn’t say no.

All told i spent about 8 months drawing six issues. When the series got extended and i was asked to stay on, I had to take a really hard look at the reality of another 8 months working a boarding job during the day and giving my nights and weekends to comics. Working two jobs was starting to take it’s toll, and i had to be honest about the level of burnout i was feeling, and the effect it would have on my ability to do either job well.
I have so much love, blood, sweat and tears in Giant Days, and that made passing the torch incredibly difficult (plus, who wants to pick up a bloody, sweaty, salty torch?), but i know it was the right thing to do. I’m still drawing the covers for the next six issues, so i feel like it’s not really goodbye. I’m looking forward to watching the story unfold as a reader, and i dearly hope that if you’ve been enjoying the series so far that you continue to enjoy it with me!
And if you have yet to pick the books up, there’s a whole lot of Giant Days out there for you to enjoy :)

I’m getting all misty eyed.

I’ve got to end with thank yous. Biggest thanks of course to John for plucking me from relative obscurity and bringing me along for the ride. He’s the only comics collaborator i’ve worked with so i don’t have much to compare to, but i’m pretty sure he’s the best collaborator on the planet. Sorry everyone, i got the best one! Thanks to Shannon and Jasmine for holding my hand and helping me feel out the back end of the comics world, and for generally being super awesome humans. Thanks to Whitney for taking my scribbles and making them beautiful with color, to Jim for his brilliant lettering, and to Kara for making it all look good! And of course thanks to Boom! for supporting us.

Sneak peek as we prep for MPA’s Orbit. Starting at midnight tonight, three artists will enter the enclosed environment between the windowpanes of our theater (complete with composting toilet, food and water supply, and plants) for a ten-day, round-the-clock performance inspired by the simulation projects conducted by universities and space agencies to test human life on spacecrafts and Mars.

Spring has sprung…at least in Asad Raza’s installation! In Root sequence. Mother tongue (2017), Raza brings the forest into the Museum. The artist has described the 26 trees growing in the space as characters, individual inhabitants in a living network that includes their human caretakers.

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Around 1918, Edward Hopper made an etching in which he portrayed himself wearing a hat. Self-Portrait preserves the pose of this earlier image, while his heavier features and laugh lines suggest the effects of time’s passage. Dressed in a suit and tie, Hopper gives no indication of his profession; indeed, he appears as the antithesis of the stereotypical bohemian artist. Though the interior space he occupies is nondescript, his hat suggests a moment of transition—that he is on his way somewhere else. Like so many of the people he portrayed on trains and in hotels and waiting rooms, Hopper looks as if he has been captured in a contemplative, in-between moment, engaged in a scene that hints at narrative possibilities but remains mysterious.

Edward Hopper (1882–1967), Self Portrait, 1925–30. Oil on canvas, 25 3/8 × 20 3/8 in. (64.5 × 51.8 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.1165 © Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by Whitney Museum, NY


Standing Julian is a portrait of Urs Fischer’s friend and fellow artist Julian Schnabel. The massive sculpture is also a wax candle: lit every morning and extinguished each night, Standing Julian will slowly melt over the course of Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection. Although this candle will eventually burn down and be discarded, the sculpture can also be recast and lit anew. As Fischer explains, his waxworks allow “materials and images to take on their own life.”

See how the 1,000 pound work was installed on Facebook

Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection opens Wednesday, April 27.

On select Friday nights: Explore immigration, ethnicity, race, and the complexity of American identity in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection

John Sonsini (b. 1950), BYRON & RAMIRO, 2008. Acrylic on canvas, 80 1/8 × 84 1/8 × 2 9/16 in. (203.5 × 213.7 × 6.5 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Jean Crutchfield and Robert Hobbs 2010.70 © John Sonsini

During NYC Pride weekend, join us for Queer Bodies, a tour exploring gender, sexuality, and LGBTQ perspectives in Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection.

Lyle Ashton Harris (b. 1965), Billie #21, 2002. Dye diffusion transfer print, sheet: 33 ¾ × 22 1/16 in. (85.7 × 56 cm); image: 24 × 21 in. (61 × 53.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Photography Committee 2002.563 © Lyle Ashton Harris


Byron Kim is in our galleries today continuing his Synecdoche project. Beginning in 1991, Kim started making portraits of an individual only by looking at her skin color. He closely examines a section of the sitter’s skin and blends paints in an attempt to match it. In doing so, Kim asks what and how color signifies. The Whitney’s panels, currently on view in Human Interest on the 6th floor, represent the skin colors of 40 artists with work in the Museum’s collection. Many of our visitors have posted their own portraits in front of the work.

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Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection offers new perspectives on one of art’s oldest genres. Sections on Floor Six explore how artists have reinvented portraiture over the last sixty years, and feature works by Diane Arbus, Glenn Ligon, Alice Neel, and Andy Warhol, among others. 

Installation view of Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, April 27, 2016–February 12, 2017). Photograph by Ronald Amstutz