Whitney Biennial 2019
May 17–Oct 27, 2019

The Whitney Biennial is an unmissable event for anyone interested in finding out what’s happening in art today. Curators Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley have been visiting artists over the past year in search of the most important and relevant work. Featuring seventy-five artists and collectives working in painting, sculpture, installation, film and video, photography, performance, and sound, the 2019 Biennial takes the pulse of the contemporary artistic moment. Introduced by the Museum’s founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, the Biennial is the longest-running exhibition in the country to chart the latest developments in American art.  

Read more about the exhibition in a statement by the curators.


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1

Eddie Arroyo

Born 1976 in Miami, FL
Lives in Miami, FL
A painting of street art on the side of a building.

1

2

Korakrit Arunanondchai

Born 1986 in Bangkok, Thailand
Lives in New York, NY, and Bangkok, Thailand
A close up video still of a person's face painted green.

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3

Olga Balema

Born 1984 in Lviv, Ukraine
Lives in New York, NY
A rounded fabric sculpture.

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4

Morgan Bassichis

Born 1983 in Newton, MA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Portrait of the artist sitting in a chair.

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5

Blitz Bazawule

Born 1982 in Accra, Ghana
Lives in New York, NY
An upside down image of a hooded figure on horseback.

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6

Alexandra Bell

Born 1983 in Chicago, IL
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A newspaper print.

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7

Brian Belott

Born 1973 in East Orange, NJ
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A mixed media work with black paint and a purple pinwheel

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8

Meriem Bennani

Born 1988 in Rabat, Morocco
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
An installation view of artworks on the terrace.

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9

Robert Bittenbender

Born 1987 in Washington, DC
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
An installation of metal materials mounted on a wall.

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10

Lucas Blalock

Born 1978 in Asheville, NC
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A print of an office interior with an abstracted human silhouette sitting on a chair.

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11

Garrett Bradley

Born 1986 in New York, NY
Lives in New Orleans, LA
A woman reclining with a rainbow hued glare.

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12

Milano Chow

Born 1987 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
A drawing of a flat aerial view of a house.

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13

Colectivo Los Ingrávidos

Founded 2011 in Tehuacán, Mexico
A grainy film image depicting a large array of fruits displayed on a lawn.

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14

Thirza Cuthand

Born 1978 in Regina, Saskatchewan
Lives in Toronto, Ontario
A video still of two people walking and wearing gas masks.

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15

John Edmonds

Born 1989 in Washington, DC
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A photograph of a person from the shoulders up wearing a red bandana around the lower half of their face.

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16

Nicole Eisenman

Born 1965 in Verdun, France
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A photograph of a sculpture display on a terrace.

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17

Janiva Ellis

Born 1987 in Oakland, CA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY, and Los Angeles, CA
A photograph of a painting in a gallery.

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18

Kota Ezawa

Born 1969 in Cologne, West Germany
Lives in Oakland, CA
A watercolor of football players kneeling for the national anthem.

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19

Brendan Fernandes

Born 1979 in Nairobi, Kenya
Lives in Chicago, IL
Four dancers pose in a rehearsal space with metal bar structures.

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20

FIERCE and Paper Tiger Television

FIERCE: Founded 2000 in New York, NY
Paper Tiger Television: Founded 1981 in New York, NY
A video still of a wire fence up close.

20

21

Marcus Fischer

Born 1977 in Torrance, CA
Lives in Portland, OR
A photo of a tape recorder in a white room.

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22

Forensic Architecture

Founded 2010 in London, United Kingdom
A video still of brightly colored animation.

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23

Ellie Ga

Born 1976 in New York, NY
Lives in Stockholm, Sweden
A video still of collaged images.

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24

Nicholas Galanin

Born 1979 in Sitka, AK
Lives in Sitka, AK
A textile hanging on a wall with the look of a television tuned to a dead channel.

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25

Sofía Gallisá Muriente

Born 1986 in San Juan, PR
Lives in San Juan, PR
A black-and-white video still of a split screen with one side featuring people standing on the stairway to a plane and the other featuring a blurry crowd of people.

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26

Jeffrey Gibson

Born 1972 in Colorado Springs, CO
Lives in Germantown, NY
A photograph of a textile sculpture hanging in a gallery.

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27

Todd Gray

Born 1954 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA, and Akwidaa, Ghana
Three framed prints overlapping each other with images of people holding hands, a person rowing a canoe, and a forrest in each of them.

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28

Sam Green

Born 1966 in Detroit, MI
Lives in New York, NY
An audience viewing a performance of four musicians on a stage in front of a screen projecting a man's face.

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29

Barbara Hammer

Born 1939 in Los Angeles, CA
Died 2019
A film still of a person bending backward behind a blue truck.

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30

Ilana Harris-Babou

Born 1991 in Brooklyn, NY
Lives in Williamstown, MA, and Brooklyn, NY
A still of two people in a restoration workspace holding coffee mugs and looking at each other.

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31

Matthew Angelo Harrison

Born 1989 in Detroit, MI
Lives in Detroit, MI
A wooden sculpture mask cast in a block of resin.

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32

Curran Hatleberg

Born 1982 in Washington, DC
Lives in Baltimore, MD
A red Camaro suspended on top of two garbage dumps in a wooded area.

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33

Madeline Hollander

Born 1986 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in New York, NY

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34

Iman Issa

Born 1979 in Cairo, Egypt
Lives in Berlin, Germany, and New York, NY
A bronze triangular sculpture on a white rectangular base.

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35

Tomashi Jackson

Born 1980 in Houston, TX
Lives in New York, NY, and Cambridge, MA
An installation view of artworks in a gallery.

35

36

Steffani Jemison

Born 1981 in Berkeley, CA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A black-and-white still of a woman in a white robe and mask in front of a  platform featuring Christian crosses.

36

37

Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, and Jackson Polys

Adam Khalil: Born 1988 in Nyack, NY
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Zack Khalil: Born 1991 in Newton, MA Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Jackson Polys: Born 1976 in Ketchikan, AK
Lives in New York, NY
A view of an installation of a sculpture in the center of a room with other glass encasements of cultural objects.

37

38

Christine Sun Kim

Born 1980 in Orange County, CA
Lives in Berlin, Germany
A drawing of six angular graphs depicting names stages of rage and their purposes.

38

39

Josh Kline

Born 1979 in Philadelphia, PA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
An installation view of artworks in a gallery.

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40

Autumn Knight

Born 1980 in Houston, TX
Lives in New York, NY
A close up video still of a person's face cover in white liquid.

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41

Carolyn Lazard

Born 1987 in Upland, CA
Lives in Philadelphia, PA
A photograph of a sculpture in a gallery.

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42

Maia Ruth Lee

Born 1983 in Busan, South Korea
Lives in New York, NY
A sculpture of 4 rolled pieces of tarp on top of each other leaning against a wall.

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43

Simone Leigh

Born 1967 in Chicago, IL
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A photograph of artworks in a gallery.

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44

Daniel Lind-Ramos

Born 1953 in Loíza, PR
Lives in Loíza, PR
A photograph of a sculpture in a gallery.

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45

James Luna

Born 1950 in Orange, CA
Died 2018
A close-up video still of a man wearing sunglasses.

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46

Eric N. Mack

Born 1987 in Columbia, MD
Lives in New York, NY
A moving blanket hanging on a wall with paper works attached.

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47

Calvin Marcus

Born 1988 in San Francisco, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
A painting of an abstracted human head and hand flipping a coin in the air.

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48

Tiona Nekkia McClodden

Born 1981 in Blytheville, AR
Lives in Philadelphia, PA
A video still of a person dressed in white in a forest kicking down a tree.

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49

Troy Michie

Born 1985 in El Paso, TX
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A collage painting.

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50

Joe Minter

Born 1943 in Birmingham, AL
Lives in Birmingham, AL
Sculptures made out of license plates and other metal parts.

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51

Keegan Monaghan

Born 1986 in Evanston, IL
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A close-up painting of and enlarged red telephone.

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52

Caroline Monnet

Born 1985 in Ottawa, Ontario
Lives in Montreal, Quebec
A man standing in a boat paddling.

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53

Darius Clark Monroe

Born 1980 in Houston, TX
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A close-up of a person's face in black-and-white.

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54

Ragen Moss

Born 1978 in New York, NY
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
An installation view of sculptures handing in a gallery.

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55

Sahra Motalebi

Born 1979 in Birmingham, AL
Lives in New York, NY, and Delaware County, NY
A photo of a person performing with a music stand surrounded by a multimedia performance.

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56

Marlon Mullen

Born 1963 in Richmond, CA
Lives in Rodeo, CA
Painting with grids of color and letters

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57

Jeanette Mundt

Born 1982 in Princeton, NJ
Lives in Somerset, NJ
An abstracted painting of a gymnast doing a flip.

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58

Wangechi Mutu

Born 1972 in Nairobi, Kenya
Lives in Brooklyn, NY, and Nairobi, Kenya
A sculpture of wood moving upward with a rounded object stuck in its side.

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59

Las Nietas de Nonó

Lydela Nonó: Born 1979 in San Juan, PR
Lives in Carolina, PR
Michel Nonó: Born 1982 in San Juan, PR
Lives in Carolina, PR
A view of a woman in a yellow dress standing in a doorway that leads to a yard.

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60

Jenn Nkiru

Born 1987 in London, United Kingdom
Lives in London, United Kingdom
A video still of a figure looking up at the sky in front of a railroad.

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61

Laura Ortman

Born 1973 in Whiteriver, AZ
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A photograph of a woman playing violin

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62

Jennifer Packer

Born 1984 in Philadelphia, PA
Lives in New York, NY
A painting of an officer in blue uniform against a white background.

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63

nibia pastrana santiago

Born 1987 in Caguas, PR
Lives in San Juan, PR
The New York City skyline with a close-up image of a finger in front.

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64

Elle Pérez

Born 1989 in the Bronx, NY
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A print of close-up body parts including bloodied limbs and a face.

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65

Pat Phillips

Born 1987 in Lakenheath, United Kingdom
Lives in Pineville, LA
A painting of abstracted arms and hands wearing striped clothing.

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66

Gala Porras-Kim

Born 1984 in Bogotá, Colombia
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
An installation including a black-and-white drawing on the wall and small sculpture on the ground before it.

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67

Walter Price

Born 1989 in Macon, GA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A red painting of an abstracted car.

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Carissa Rodriguez

Born 1970 in New York, NY
Lives in New York, NY
A video still of a round object on the floor in front of a wall with portraits hanging on it.

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69

Paul Mpagi Sepuya

Born 1982 in San Bernardino, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
A photograph of a reflection of two people taking the photograph.

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70

Heji Shin

Born 1983 in Seoul, South Korea
Lives in New York, NY
A print of a baby's head crowning between legs under a red tint.

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71

Diane Simpson

Born 1935 in Joliet, IL
Lives in Wilmette, IL
A beige, geometric sculpture with elements both hanging on the wall and on the floor.

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72

Martine Syms

Born 1988 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
An installation view of artworks in a gallery.

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73

Kyle Thurman

Born 1986 in West Chester, PA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
A pink drawing with the outline of a male figure holding one arm out to the side.

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74

Mariana Valencia

Born 1984 in Chicago, IL
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Closeup photograph of a woman in red lipstick to the right of the frame.

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75

Agustina Woodgate

Born 1981 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lives in Miami, FL, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands
A round clock set to 10:10 with circular scratches on the facade.

75


More from this series

Learn more about the Whitney Biennial, the longest-running survey of American art.


Events


A close-up painting of and enlarged red telephone.

Audio Guides

“It's a snapshot of contemporary art making in the United States today.”—Jane Panetta, 2019 Biennial co-curator

Hear from the artists and curators about works in the exhibition.


Installation Photography


Film Screenings and Performances

A dedicated screening program of eighteen films, selected by three guest curators, will immerse viewers in tales ranging from the world of global Black music, fashion, and visual culture to the discovery of a nine-thousand-year-old skeleton in Washington State. Performance works, from opera to social critique, will take place in the galleries, the theater, outdoors, and other spaces throughout the museum.

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Shop the Exhibition

Visit the online shop to buy Whitney catalogues, exhibition-inspired gifts, and more.

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En Español

Para la Bienal, nos complace ofrecer los siguientes recursos y programas en español: la guía móvil, visitas guiadas de la exposición los viernes y sábados por la tarde, y visitas guiadas gratuitas para las escuelas públicas y concertadas de la Ciudad de Nueva York. Los textos de pared de la exposición se encuentran disponibles en español en el Museo.


In the News

“This year’s Whitney Biennial is organized by Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley, two astute young curators on the museum’s staff.” —The New Yorker

“There’s perhaps no better place to check out the contemporary art world’s up-and-comers than at New York City’s Whitney Museum of American Art, and this summer show is the crème de la crème.” —Forbes Travel Guide

“While the roster includes familiar names (Nicole Eisenman, Josh Kline) and new cult favorites (the unconventional collective Forensic Architecture, nominated for the 2018 Turner Prize), it also leaves room for plenty of unexpected discoveries.” —GARAGE

“The curators of the seventy-ninth Whitney Biennial take the pulse of American creativity at one of the most polarizing times in the country’s history.” —Elle

"While we used to believe art history was a progression of one ism and style to the next, artists are now inhabiting the beautiful ruins of the art of the past 125 years." —New York Magazine

"In many ways, this year’s biennial is not just a passive reflection of what is happening in contemporary art, but also a statement about the importance of supporting and cultivating emerging artists, especially during challenging times.” —AM New York

"If there was ever a biennial you wouldn’t want to miss, it’s this one." —New York Post

“A requisite for anyone who wants to explore the vast talent of 75 artists who push the boundaries of gender, race, and equity, wrestling with ideas and topics that are indispensable in today’s social dialogue…This is the art that defines our present.” —Forbes

“Artist by artist, piece by piece, there’s a lot of quiet agitation in the air…A view of American art far more inclusive than it once was…The ethnic and gender mix is balanced to a degree unimaginable even a decade ago.” The New York Times

“The show is by turns beautiful, elegant, formally complex, and even funny at times. It is also fierce.” —4Columns 

“Fresh and energizing” Gothamist

“ . . . it’s a place where traditional boundaries give way to an animated spirit of inclusion…a good lesson for life...this Biennial makes thoughtful purpose its hallmark . . . Boom.” The Boston Globe

“For an up-to-the-minute blockbuster that confronts some of today's thorniest issues—race, class, gender, inequality—the Whitney's 2019 Biennial is unexpectedly lovely to look at. . . . Much of the work here is subtle, thoughtful and meticulously engineered.” –Financial Times


Curatorial Statement
By Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley

Often described as a snapshot of art in the United States, the Biennial brings together work by individuals and collectives in a broad array of mediums. Over the past year and a half—an undeniably intense and polarized time in this country—we made hundreds of studio visits. While we often encountered heightened emotions, they were directed toward thoughtful and productive experimentation, the re-envisioning of self and society, and political and aesthetic strategies for survival. Although much of the work presented here is steeped in sociopolitical concerns, the cumulative effect is open-ended and hopeful.

Key issues and approaches emerge across the exhibition: the mining of history as a means to reimagine the present or future; a profound consideration of race, gender, and equity; and explorations of the vulnerability of the body. Concerns for community appear in the content and social engagement of the work and also in the ways that the artists navigate the world. Many of the artists included emphasize the physicality of their materials, whether in sculptures assembled out of found objects, heavily worked paintings, or painstakingly detailed drawings. An emphasis on the artist’s hand suggests a rejection of the digital and the related slick, packaged presentation of the self in favor of more individualized and idiosyncratic work.

While we were organizing this exhibition, broader debates in the public sphere surfaced at the Museum, which itself became the site and subject of protest, as it has been throughout its history. Fundamental to the Whitney’s identity is its openness to dialogue, and the conversations that have occurred here and across the country became a productive lens through which to synthesize our own looking, thinking, and self-questioning. 


The 2019 Whitney Biennial is organized by Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley, with Ramsay Kolber.

The film program is organized by Maori Karmael Holmes, Sky Hopinka, and Matt Wolf.

The performance program is organized by Jane Panetta, Rujeko Hockley, and Greta Hartenstein.


Whitney Biennial 2019 is presented by

   

Major support is provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston; The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation; The Rosenkranz Foundation; and the Whitney’s National Committee.

Generous support is provided by Lise and Michael Evans; and the John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation.

Significant support is provided by 2019 Biennial Committee Co-Chairs: Beth Rudin DeWoody, Bob Gersh, Miyoung Lee, and Fred Wilson; 2019 Biennial Committee members: Ashley Leeds and Christopher Harland, Diane and Adam E. Max, Annette and Paul Smith, Sarah Arison and Thomas Wilhelm, Bill Block, the Debra and Jeffrey Geller Family Foundation, Rebecca and Martin Eisenberg, Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Marjorie and James D. Kuhn, Kourosh Larizadeh and Luis Pardo, Melanie Shorin and Greg S. Feldman, Dora and Cranford Stoudemire, and the William and Ellen Taubman Foundation; and Further Forward Foundation, the Kapadia Equity Fund, The Keith Haring Foundation Exhibition Fund, Katie and Amnon Rodan, and Sotheby’s.

Additional support is provided by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.

Funding is also provided by special Biennial endowments created by Melva Bucksbaum, Emily Fisher Landau, Leonard A. Lauder, and Fern and Lenard Tessler.

Curatorial research and travel for this exhibition were funded by an endowment established by Rosina Lee Yue and Bert A. Lies, Jr., MD.

New York magazine is the exclusive media sponsor.

Sunrise

Sunset

A 30-second online art project:
Kristin Lucas, Speculative Habitat for Sponsored Seabirds

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