Should Art That Infuriates Be Removed?

We all encounter art we don’t like, that upsets and infuriates us. This doesn’t deserve to be exhibited, our brains yell; it should not be allowed to exist. Still, does such aversion mean that an artwork must be removed from view — or, worse, destroyed? This question has been at the heart of the controversy […]

Here Comes the Whitney Biennial, Reflecting the Tumult of the Times

FOR the first time in 20 years, the lead-up to the Whitney Biennial coincided with the presidential election, a background that could not help but inform the selection of artists and artwork that will be on view when the biennial opens on March 17, the first in the museum’s new downtown building. “An election year […]

Abstract Expressionism review – crammed in a room with the big men of US art

There are beautiful, marvellous and terrifying things in the Royal Academy’s much-trumpeted survey of Abstract Expressionism. What more could one ask in a show including the explosive and tender Jackson Pollock; De Kooning swerving and jumbling and dismembering his frightening figures of women; Rothko’s tangy brightness and trembling, tremulous darkness;Barnett Newman’s zips and planes and […]

‘Laura Poitras: Astro Noise’ Examines Surveillance and the New Normal

Political art has changed over the past 50 years. Unlike the protest art of an earlier era, much of the most interesting new work feels slippery and evasive, as if reluctant to speak its mind. In part, this is a reflection of different, though not necessarily evolved, thinking. We’ve abandoned old beliefs in utopias, in […]

Why the Whitney is “Nervous” About Upcoming Laura Poitras Show

Classified images leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden will figure as artworks at the Whitney Museum of American Art in its Laura Poitras solo exhibition, “Astro Noise,” opening next week. In an unprecedented sprint from headline to gallery wall, news of the covert intelligence program to which the works pertain will have scarcely broken […]

The Met and the Now

America’s preëminent museum finally embraces contemporary art. Gertrude Stein’s famous remark that “you can be a museum or you can be modern, but you can’t be both” sounds archaic today. Every self-respecting urban center has its museum of modern art, and climate-change-denying business leaders will spend lavishly to get their name on its walls. The […]

2015 Fall Art Preview: The 28 New York Exhibitions Everyone Should See

The fall art season is quickly upon us as galleries in New York return from their August hibernation and bring out key shows to chase away the summer languor.  To help you navigate the mess of fall openings, we offer up a calendar of some of the exhibitions we’re most anticipating at museums and galleries […]

Hans Haacke on “Gift Horse,” Gulf Labor, and Artist Resale Royalties

Early last March, London’s Conservative mayor Boris Johnson unveiled Hans Haacke’s “Gift Horse,” the tenth commission installed on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. Described on the Greater London Authority’s website as a rumination on the “link[s] between power, money, and history,” “Gift Horse” consists of a bronze horse skeleton and a live electronic ticker of the […]

The Art of Dissent

Ai Weiwei and Jacob Appelbaum are artists, journalists, dissidents, polymaths — and targets. Their respective governments, China and the United States, monitor their every move. They have been detained and interrogated. Ai cannot leave China, and Appelbaum is advised not to return to the United States. They are separated from their families. Ai has been […]

10 Reasons To Be Excited About The New Whitney Museum

The new home of the Whitney Museum of American Art, in all its 28,000 tons of glory (as architect Renzo Piano pointed out during the preview Thursday), opens to the public May 1 in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District (see Does the New Whitney Museum Herald a Golden Age for New York Institutions?). artnet News joined the preview, […]

The Whitney Opens with a winner

Let’s cut to the chase: the Whitney Museum of American Art’s inaugural show in its new home in the Meatpacking District, “America Is Hard to See,” is outstanding. With about 600 works by a little over 400 artists, it offers a history of American art—and America—that is richly textured and that teems with beloved classics […]

NYT Review: New Whitney Museum’s First Show, ‘America Is Hard to See’

From outside, Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum of American Art, set beside the Hudson River, has the bulk of an oil tanker’s hull. Inside is entirely different. The galleries, with high ceilings, tall windows and soft pine-plank floors, are as airy and light-flooded as the 19th-century sailmaker’s lofts known to Herman Melville, who worked as […]

Does the New Whitney Museum Herald a Golden Age for New York Institutions?

The Whitney Museum of American Art’s Meatpacking District museum, opening May 1, is fiercely awaited. In its new building, designed by Renzo Piano, the galleries and sculpture gardens will nearly double the museum’s previous exhibition space, with two floors devoted to showing off its collection. The museum expects to take in spillover from the millions of yearly […]

Jeff Koons Retrospective Vandalized

On August 20, Canadian performance artist Istvan Kantor smeared a white wall on the third floor of the Whitney Museum’s Jeff Koons retrospective with his own blood, and signed the impromptu mural with the name “Monty Cantsin,” andHyperallergic reported. He was photographed by a passerby, ecstatically raising his arms and holding a piece of paper.

Jeff Koons, Kara Walker, and the Challenge of Public Art

As if his museum-filling Whitney retrospective weren’t enough, Jeff Koons currently has a massive sculpture on view at Rockefeller Center. “Split-Rocker,” presented by Gagosian Gallery and organized by the Public Art Fund and real estate developer Tishman Speyer, is comprised of two halves, one the recreated head of a toy pony rocker that belonged to his son, the […]

Critical Reduction: Jeff Koons at the Whitney

Can money buy critical immunity? It certainly seems so, judging by critics’ response to the Whitney Museum’s retrospective devoted to the most expensive living artist,Jeff Koons. In this week’s edition of Critical Reduction, we boil down eight critics’ takes on the shiny extravaganza, which, befitting of such a divisive artist, tend to be either vividly enthusiastic or vehemently dismissive. […]

“Jeff Koons: A Retrospective”

If I had to sum up American history in a word, I wouldn’t use racism,though obviously that’s a biggie. I’d pick hokum. I put it right up there withliberty, as in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” a passage which itself could be taken for hokum, written as it was by a man who owned slaves. However, I […]

Slideshow: The Jeff Koons Retrospective

Art is a “platform for the future,” Jeff Koons announced at yesterday’s press conference at the Whitney. What that means is anyone’s guess, but he followed that up by explaining that he’s 59 and hopes to be making art for at least another three decades. In short, while this may be his first New York […]

Shapes of an Extroverted Life ‘Jeff Koons: A Retrospective’ Opens at the Whitney

There are so many strange, disconcerting aspects to Jeff Koons, his art and his career that it is hard to quite know how to approach his first New York retrospective, the Whitney Museum of American Art’s largest survey devoted to a single artist. First there are the notorious sex pictures from his “Made in Heaven” […]

Material Boy: Jeff Koons at the Whitney

Given that he’s a goliath figure in the art world whose output spans three decades, it may come as a surprise that Jeff Koons’s Whitney retrospective is the artist’s first major solo show at a New York museum. The exhibition offers 150 works dating back to 1978, giving visitors a comprehensive look at the former commodities trader’s ambitious and diverse artistic […]