August 30 2014

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9 posts tagged "Whitney Museum"

Jeff Koons Recalls His Favorite Whitney Museum Moments


JEFFPerennial art world heavyweight? Sure. But this summer in particular, New York City finds itself basking in the throes of Koonsmania. Yesterday a cadre of bold-faced names turned out for Larry Gagosian’s summer luncheon feting the artist’s colossal Split-Rocker sculpture, which will preside over Rockefeller Center till September. On Friday, a massive Koons retrospective bows at the Whitney, the last-ever exhibit in the Breuer-designed Madison Avenue space before the institution decamps to downtown. And July 17 sees the opening of H&M’s Fifth Avenue megastore, a 57,000-square-foot museum-inspired space. The retailer, which has lent its sponsorship to the Whitney’s survey, plans to wrap its new digs in a giant Koons balloon dog graphic—to say nothing of that certain-to-sell-out purse.

At this week’s Whitney preview, Koons waxed nostalgic about the significance of the old space: “I think the Whitney has always been a museum that’s been inviting to artists. It’s let artists know that it’s really here as a platform for them to experience art, get a better understanding of the possibilities of art.” As to his first thoughts on having the last word? “When the museum asked me to have an exhibition, and they said they wanted me to close the first building, I thought, Close the Breuer? Shouldn’t I maybe be opening the new museum? But the more I thought about it, it was just really perfect to be able to have that last exhibition here in this space because it’s such a fantastic architectural museum for art. This is just an ideal moment. I feel such a sense of comfort in having the exhibition here. It’s perfect.”

Below, Koons shares with us his holy trinity of memories from the Breuer-designed fortress on Madison Avenue.

1. “The Whitney Biennials! I remember staying in the museum for twenty-four hours one time, sleeping in the museum, installing an equilibrium tank for one of the Biennials that I was involved with.”

2. “In 1974, when I came here as a young student—I would’ve been, I guess, 18 years of age—and I followed Jim Nutt. It had a very large impact on me, and I ended up changing art schools—I moved from Maryland Institute College of Art to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago so that I’d be able to study with Jim. He was our sabbatical lead, but I think I had him as a teacher only once. But I was able to work very closely with some of the people around Jim, so seeing that exhibition here was very, very moving to me.”

3. “I met H.C. Westermann [when] he had a retrospective here at the Whitney. I met him out front. He came and he had on a cowboy suit and cowboy boots. He was very, very generous.”

Photo: David X Prutting/

Gorgeous Gems and Raunchy Performance Art at the Whitney’s Spring Dinner



Curators, collectors, and friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art came together for its annual National Committee Spring Weekend to celebrate the 2014 Whitney Biennial exhibition, which openedthe first week of March. The cocktail and dinner was hosted by jeweler Coomi Bhasin, who’s best known for incorporating genuine historical artifacts into her intricate, dazzling designs. “We have pieces that are from art from the 15th century BCE, prehistoric beads, and arrowheads that are 20,000 years old,” she told “We buy these pieces from museum dealers and put them in our house, but we don’t adorn ourselves, so I thought, Why not? We are the best canvas in the world.”

Coomi’s gold-worked, sculptural jewelry for Spring and Fall …14 took over the museum’s entryway—diamonds and rubies glistened among Egyptian motifs, inspired antique ivory pendants, and floating Buddha heads. Whitney trustees and committee members from across the U.S., including the Biennial’s three curators, Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner, joined the designer for the seated dinner, which saw a special performance by Biennial artist Jacolby Satterwhite.

Satterwhite—outfitted in a metallic silver suit with video screens conceived as extended, bodily appendages—danced explicitly as partygoers dined. Digital avatars of the artist also played on a video backdrop in an ethereal dreamscape. “Today I was an extended-frame digital media queen. Fuck post-Internet, I’m here now,” he said. “I took the language out of my videos and gave you life today…I twerked on Michelle Grabner, I ate Scott Rothkopf, and I played piano on Dave McKenzie’s dick.” Needless to say, his performance was an interesting contrast to Coomi’s elegant gems.

The evening was one of the last for the committee’s reunion in the museum’s Madison Avenue building. (The Whitney moves to the Meatpacking District in Spring 2015.) “It’s always a little bittersweet,” Adam Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director, said, “but it’s great to be in a new home. It’s a great building for artists, the setting is fantastic, and while it’s a much bigger building, it also has a lot of integrity and intimacy with a great sense of outdoors and indoors. While they’ll miss this, they’ll be even more excited about the next thing…it’s like old loves and new loves.”

Photo: Matthew Carasella 

Shop The Look: Polka Dots


The Louis Vuitton x Yayoi Kusama collaboration hits stores today, just two days before the artist’s retrospective opens at the Whitney Museum in New York City. In honor of Kusama’s striking polka-dot design printed on pajama sets, trenchcoats, and accessories, we’ve rounded up six of our favorite items from J.Crew, Comme des Garçons, Current/Elliott, and more to hit the spot right now.

1. Madewell T-shirt, $45, available at
2. J.Crew pants, $120, available at
3. Swatch watch, $50, available at
4. Superga sneakers, $80, available at
5. Current/Elliott shorts, $168, available at
6. Comme des Garçons wallet, $155, available at
To view more looks, click here.

Photos: Courtesy Photos

Fashion And Art Converge At The Whitney


It had all the fixings of a standard fashion show—front-row fixtures like Michael Stipe and Jen Brill, makeup by James Kaliardos for MAC, hair by Bumble and Bumble, and in-demand models from agencies like IMG and Ford, but K8 Hardy‘s Untitled Runway Show at the Whitney Museum on Sunday was anything but typical. The multimedia performance artist, known best for her cult zine FashionFashion, put together a collection of over 30 looks as part of her exhibition for the 2012 Biennial. For Hardy, the presentation was a way of creating a dialogue about commercialism and the way fashion affects society’s views on women rather than a vehicle for showing off her design chops.

The crowd of art enthusiasts waited patiently for about half an hour before the first model stepped out onto the wood and steel runway set, installed for the occasion by fellow Biennial artist Oscar Tuazon. Walking to amped-up reggaeton beats mixed up with Neutrogena radio ads and high-pitched nail art tutorials that had some audience members covering their ears, each model affected her own signature strut based on Hardy’s instructions. “I used to love the shows where models would dance down the runway,” Hardy told after the show. Some shuffled slowly with a moribund limp, others did ballet-like pliés and leaps, and one girl even staged a convincing runway stumble and tumble. Each catwalker wore teased-to-the-max wigs and face paint that resembled another spoof on the now-famous Tanning Mom.
Continue Reading “Fashion And Art Converge At The Whitney” »

Couture’s Confucius


What makes Chinese artist Zhang Huan a fashion darling? It’s not immediately obvious. Zhang, who has traipsed around the Whitney Museum while encased in raw meat, created enormous Buddhas from cowhide, and painted large-scale canvases using incense ash—all in the name of art—has also previously been commissioned by the likes of LVMH chief Bernard Arnault, Christian Dior, and Diane von Furstenberg. His latest exhibition, which inaugurated Shanghai’s newly reopened Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) on Friday, may offer an oblique clue.

Called Q Confucius, the artist’s largest solo exhibition in China takes the ancient philosopher as its subject and blows him up as a 16-foot-high, mechanically breathing replica; in incense ash paintings; and as an animatronic statue in a three-story-high cage populated by nine live monkeys. So is there a fashion twist to it? Perhaps the answer is in irony. “As Mao said, ‘Art comes from daily life,’ ” Zhang says with a wink. “And fashion is really about daily life.”

Zhang Huan: Q Confucius is open through January 29, 2012, at the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China.

Photo: Courtesy Photo