America is Hard to See at The WhitneySaturday, July 04, 2015
To kick off the 4th of July weekend, my friend Avery and I added a dash of soul food to our typical gastronomic expedition through the city. Fittingly for the weekend, we ended up at The Whitney, a museum dedicated to showcasing twentieth century and contemporary American art. Its new location at the heart of the Meatpacking District is a work of art in itself.
The Whitney boasts lovely views of the city but if you can tear yourself away from the balcony, you'll find some pretty cool things inside. In the past, I visited The Whitney to view specific exhibitions like Yayoi Kusama and Jeff Koons. This time, The Whitney has drawn pieces from its collection to put together America is Hard to See, which provides a glimpse of America's story through its artists. The issues that have touched the country are evident in the themes touched upon, which extends from the Great Depression of the 1930s to terrorism today. Many of pieces I enjoyed drew me in through form and technique: Willem de Kooning's abstract expressionism, Jay Defeo's stunning use of texture; Thomas Downing's command of color; Jackson Pollock's exhuberant drip painting; and Chuck Close's impressively detailed hyperrealism. Some of the commentary resonated with me too: Andy Warhol's ever-present ode to American consumerism; Donald Moffett's critique of Raegan's inaction over the spread of AIDS; and Barbara Kruger's jab at a gendered trope with We Don't Need Another Hero. Viewing The Whitney's collection provides an opportunity to reflect on America's story on the day we celebrate its independence.
America Is Hard to See is on view until September 27, 2015. For more information, visit whitney.org.