The Whitney Museum Presents America's History of Protest

The Whitney Museum Presents America's History of Protest

Black Mass, 1991. Latex, acrylic, and oil on canvas, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; promised gift of Emily Fisher Landau P.2010.173. ©Annette Lemieux


The Whitney Museum of American Art is one of my favorites in the city mostly because of its location. Sitting right at the entrance of High Line Park and steps away from foodie heaven, Chelsea Market, It’s so easy to combine art, culture, food, some vitamin D and fresh-ish air. It's one of the many reasons I love NYC. This week, I have another great reason to visit the Whitney. Its newest exhibit, “An Incomplete History of Protest” looks at how artists from the 1940s to the present have confronted the political and social issues of their day. Whether making art as a form of activism, criticism, instruction, or inspiration, the featured artists see their work as essential to challenging established thought and creating a more equitable culture.

 

In our current political climate, I'm looking forward to seeing how they, as people, and more importantly as artists sought to express the need for change and reform through different creative mediums. Many sought immediate change, such as ending the war in Vietnam or combating the AIDS crisis. Others engaged with protest more indirectly, with the long term in mind, hoping to create new ways of imagining society and citizenship.

 

The exhibition offers a sequence of historical case studies focused on particular moments and themes—from questions of representation to the fight for civil rights—that remain relevant today. At the root of the exhibition is the belief that artists play a profound role in transforming their time and shaping the future. Go to the Whitney this week and check out this “incomplete” exhibit and be inspired.

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