whitney contemporaries

Janine Antoni
Gnaw, 1992
600 lbs. of lard on marble pedestal gnawed on by the artist, also displayed in the Whitney Biennial with 130 artist-made lipsticks with pigment, beeswax, and chewed lard removed from lard cube
24 x 24 x 24 inches

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On this day in music history: May 17, 1986 - “The Greatest Love Of All” by Whitney Houston hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 5 weeks on April 26, 1986, and peaking at #3 on the R&B singles chart on May 10, 1986. Written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed, the song is originally recorded by George Benson in 1977 for the Muhammad Ali biopic “The Greatest”. Famed Philly Soul lyricist Creed’s inspiration for writing the lyrics in part, come from her own struggle with breast cancer which she had recently been diagnosed when commissioned to write the song. Whitney Houston personally selects the song to record for her 1985 debut album, working with co-writer Masser who also produces the single. The original LP version is actually issued as the B-side of her first single “You Give Good Love”, but is remixed for single release (as an A-side) and is issued in March of 1986, quickly becoming Houston’s third pop chart topper. Sadly, songwriter Linda Creed loses her battle with breast cancer on April 10, 1986, just five weeks before the song tops the pop charts. She is only thirty six years old at the time. “The Greatest Love Of All” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

Happy birthday to Cory Arcangel! For Super Mario Clouds (2002), Arcangel hacked into and modified a cartridge of Super Mario Bros., the blockbuster Nintendo video game released in the U.S. in 1985. By tweaking the game’s code, the artist erased all of the sound and visual elements except for the iconic fluffy white clouds that scroll endlessly across a bright blue sky.

[Installation view of America Is Hard to See (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 1-September 27, 2015). Photography by Ronald Amstutz]