Museum Visit #1
February 8, 2017
Whitney Museum of American Art
New York City, NY
Student: Dave Holmander
Advisor: Jason Stopia
The Whitney Museum of American Art is located in the old meat packer district of New York City also known as the Bowery. Of special interest to me and quite by accident I stumbled upon this district not realizing I previously had visited the area when I was about 10 years old. My Dad who sold meat packer equipment frequently called on customer in the area and on rare occasion I would accompany him. I never expected to see any of the prior business still in place and still in operation.
The Whitney features American art as it’s name suggest. The museum is house in a purpose built modern structure of eight floors. The entry way is spacious and welcoming with a gift and book shop and opportunity to purchase meal or snack.
My goal for the visit was not calculated to see a specific exhibition but to make the excision to NYC and chance what every show was underway. I was not disappointed because I ended up viewing work by individual artist of which I previously and only known through writing and printed examples of their work.
There is no second floor to the museum as the first floor is open through to the third. The third floor houses a theater for performances and concerts. Again there is no effective fourth floor and the fifth and eight floor was closed in preparation for an upcoming show; therefore, my access was limited to floors six and seven.
Underway, a show titled Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitey Collection. The collection was vast and numerous. Works ranged from painting and photography to sculpture to installations.
For my purpose I was particularly interested in painting specific to that which I would like to emulate. I like to examine the brush stroke and the texture of the painting process. I want to know if the given artist has a sense of aromatics while producing their work. In the heavy brush strokes are they trying to build up ridges with sharp points and valleys to created optical illusion and depth. What do they want their viewer to experience when looking at the work. More broadly I took particular notice of the various portraitures and abstract subject matter.
Within the scope of the current show was the work of Andy Warhol, Alison Saar, Jack Pierson, Deborah Kass, and Byron Kim are but a few artist to note. But more specifically, William de Kooning’s Women and Bicycle, 1952-53 is of interest because his use of paint and color along with subject matter gravitating psychosis. The work reveals an aggression, a smudging of the paint colliding with itself. As de Kooning own word suggest, drama, anger, love, my ideas about space. He has thrown himself into the work and this is how I want to engage in mine.
Additionally, Jasper Johns, Savarin, 1982 though not painting rather lithograph and monotype I interested in the constructs of his subject, These are areas of visual concentration I would like at a future time to explore. Racing Thoughts 1983 is likewise another with sort of a twilight zone abstract effect
I found the visit useful and rewarding but was cut short because of a snowstorm moving in overnight and fearing I could be stranded I returned to New Hampshire. This does allow for a return trip.