whitney museum of america art

Felix Gonzalez-Torres was born on this day in 1957. Installations of his “Untitled” (America) can vary: composed of twelve strings of light bulbs, the work can be shown inside or outside, in an unlimited range of configurations. This work is one of a number by Gonzalez-Torres that includes the word “America” in its title. The light from the bulbs might resonate as cheerful in one context and melancholy in another, leaving viewers to reflect on their own associations with the idea of “America.”

[Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (America), 1994 (96.74.1a-l) as installed in the stairway of the Whitney Museum of American Art. © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation Courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz]

“I like straight lines. I like angles. I like order. In this chaos that we live in, I like to put some order.” —Carmen Herrera

[Installation view of Carmen Herrera: Lines of Sight (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, September 16, 2016-January 2, 2017). Photograph by Ronald Amstutz]

On Friday, January 20, Inauguration Day, the Whitney is open on a pay-what-you-wish basis all day to affirm our commitment to open dialogue, civic engagement, and the diversity of American art and culture.

Throughout the day, the Museum is offering special programs, including “My America” guided tours; a speak out convened by the artist collective Occupy Museums; and open discussions moderated by artists, critics and Whitney staff. All of these programs are free. We hope you join us!

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


LAST CHANCE! America Is Hard to See, the celebrated inaugural exhibition drawn entirely from the collection, closes Sunday. Buy your tickets in advance to skip the general admission line when you arrive.

Don’t miss the final two programs of the 99 Objects series, featuring scholar Katy Siegel and curator Jay Sanders. 

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

Cory Arcangel was born on this day in 1978. 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.

Tony Smith was born on this day in 1912. Here’s his iconic work, Die, on view in America Is Hard to See. 

[Installation view of America Is Hard to See (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 1–September 30, 2015). Photography by Ronald Amstutz]

Today, we’re kicking off 99 Objects, a series of in-gallery programs each focused on a single work of art from the Whitney’s collection. Join us at 3 pm on the fifth floor, as artist and writer Gregg Bordowitz addresses Rückenfigur by Glenn Ligon.

Glenn Ligon (b. 1960), Rückenfigur, 2009. Neon and paint. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee. © Glenn Ligon

When the Whitney Studio Club opened in 1918, one of its primary goals was to host affordable life drawing classes. Edward Hopper attended the classes regularly between 1920 and 1925, making hundreds of drawings there—several of which are featured on the first floor

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