whitney contemporaries

Hélio Oiticica believed that leisure was essential to creativity—so take a break, and curl up with a good book today! For Eden (1969), Oiticica created an open-ended work that was an “instrument for reflection” and a “proposition for behavior.” Visitors enter a sand garden punctuated by places for rest, contemplation, reading, and listening to music; these structures, called Nests, Penetrables, and Bólides, reappear throughout Oiticica’s career. 

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

This fall, we’re thrilled to present Toyin Ojih Odutola’s first solo museum exhibition in New York! Opening October 20, the exhibition will present a series of interconnected fictional portraits chronicling the lives of two aristocratic Nigerian families. Enigmatic and mysterious, these life-size figures appear alone or in groups, set against luxurious backdrops of domesticity and leisure. Highly attentive to detail and the nuances of space, class, and color—whether of palette or skin—Ojih Odutola considers questions of narrative, authenticity, and representation.

[Toyin Ojih Odutola (b. 1985), Pregnant, 2017. Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper, 74 ½ x 42 in. ©Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York]

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On this day in music history: October 26, 1985 - “Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the R&B singles chart for 1 week on September 7, 1985, and topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 3 weeks on October 5, 1985. Written by Michael Masser and Gerry Goffin, it is the first pop and second R&B chart topper for the pop and R&B vocal icon from Newark, NJ. After Whitney Houston is signed to Arista Records in 1983, the nearly two year long task of recording her debut album begins in earnest. Among the producers selected to work on the project is songwriter Michael Masser, best known for penning classics including “The Greatest Love Of All” (also recorded by Houston for her debut), “Touch Me In The Morning” and “Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” (both for Diana Ross). One of the songs chosen for Whitney is “Saving All My Love For You” co-written with lyricist Gerry Goffin (“The Locomotion”, “One Fine Day”, “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman”), a song about a woman having an affair with a married man. The song is originally recorded in 1978 by Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr. (also produced by Masser), whose version is only a minor hit. Masser retools the song for Houston and records it with her in 1984, with the then twenty one year old singer delivering an emotional and flawless performance. The track is given a torchy, understated arrangement by veteran arranger Gene Page (Barry White, The Jackson 5), and features a sax solo by jazz musician Tom Scott. Issued as the second single from Whitney Houston’s self-titled debut in July of 1985, it becomes an across the board smash like its predecessor “You Give Good Love”. Entering the Hot 100 at #53 on August 17, 1985, it climbs to the top of the chart ten weeks later. The single wins Whitney her first Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female in 1986 (also performing the song live on the telecast), an honor made even sweeter when it is presented excitedly and emotionally by Houston’s cousin, vocal legend Dionne Warwick. Houston’s Grammy performance of the song also wins her an Emmy Award for  Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program also in 1986. “Saving All My Love For You” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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Born on this day: August 9, 1963 - Pop and R&B vocal legend Whitney Houston (born Whitney Elizabeth Houston in Newark, NJ). Happy Birthday to this icon on what would have been her 54th Birthday.