artists & participants

Berenice AbbottMichele AbelesVito AcconciRobert AdamsAnsel Adams An-My LeCarl AndreKenneth AngerEleanor AntinDiane ArbusCory ArcangelDavid ArmstrongRichard ArtschwagerRuth Asawa AscoHale Aspacio WoodruffCharles AtlasLutz BacherPeggy BaconJo BaerAlex BagMalcolm BaileyLamar BakerJohn BaldessariAlvin BaltropLewis BaltzMatthew BarneyRichmond BartheJean-Michel BasquiatRomare BeardenCecil BeatonRobert BeaversRobert BechtleEricka BeckmanLarry BellGeorge Wesley BellowsLynda BenglisThomas Hart BentonWallace Berman Bernadette CorporationJudith BernsteinHuma BhabhaDavid BienstockHenry BillingsIlse BingDara BirnbaumNayland BlakeOscar BluemnerPeter BlumeLee BontecouJonathan BorofskyLouise BourgeoisMargaret Bourke-WhiteCarol BoveMark BradfordStan BrakhageRobert BreerPatrick Henry BruceBernarda Bryson ShahnCharles BurchfieldJacob BurckChris BurdenScott BurtonMary Ellen ButePaul CadmusJohn CageAlexander Calder CameronLuis CamnitzerPeter CampusJames CastleElizabeth CatlettMaurizio CattelanVija CelminsJohn ChamberlainPaul ChanSarah CharlesworthAyoka Chenzira ChryssaLarry ClarkChuck CloseSue CoeAnne CollierBruce ConnerJoseph CornellEldzier CortorMiguel CovarrubiasJohn CovertRalston CrawfordE. E. CummingsImogen CunninghamJohn CurrinJames DaughertyStuart DavisWillem De KooningWalter De MariaRoy DecaravaJay DeFeoCharles DemuthMaya DerenMark di SuveroJim DineArthur DoveThomas DowningElsie DriggsCarroll DunhamSam DurantJimmie DurhamMabel DwightAllan D´ArcangeloWilliam EgglestonNicole EisenmanWharton EsherickWalker EvansLoretta FahrenholzAndreas FeiningerLyonel FeiningerDuncan FergusonRafael FerrerPaul FieneMorgan FisherJohn B. FlannaganHollis FramptonRobert FrankAndrea FraserHermine FreedJared FrenchLee FriedlanderBrian FryeCharles GainesAnna GaskellHugo GellertSandra GibsonLuis GispertWilliam GlackensMilton GlaserRobert GoberNan GoldinWayne GonzalesFelix Gonzalez-TorresBoris GorelickArshile GorkyDan GrahamWilliam GropperNancy GrossmanGeorge GroszLouis GuglielmiPhilip GustonWalter GutmanWade GuytonHans HaackePeter HalleyDavid HammonsKeith HaringRachel HarrisonMarsden HartleyDavid HarttDavid HaxtonSharon HayesAl HeldRobert HenriCarmen HerreraEva HesseLewis HineNancy HoltJenny HolzerEdward HopperRoni HornEarl HorterAlex HubbardPeter HujarRichard HuntVictoria Hutson HuntleyRobert IndianaAbraham JacobsUlysses JenkinsNeil JenneyCandy JerniganKevin Jerome Everson JessJasper JohnsWilliam H. JohnsonRashid JohnsonRay JohnsonJoan JonasJoe JonesMichael JooDonald JuddGerald K. GeerlingsAlex KatzOn KawaraMike KelleyEllsworth KellyKaren KilimnikWilliam KleinFranz KlineJosh KlineJeff KoonsLee KrasnerBarbara KrugerYasuo KuniyoshiYayoi KusamaSuzanne LacyDavid LamelasDorothea Lange LaToya Ruby FrazierRobert LaurentLouise LawlerJacob LawrenceWilliam Leavitt Len LyeZoe LeonardAlfred LeslieHoward LesterSherrie LevineHerschel LevitHelen LevittNorman LewisSol LeWittRoy LichtensteinGlenn LigonKalup LinzyAlvin LovingLee LozanoLouis LozowickEmma Lu DavisGeorge LuksHelen LundebergDanny LyonStanton Macdonald-WrightTala MadaniLiz Magic LaserPhilip Mallory JonesSylvia Plimack MangoldRobert MapplethorpeChristian MarclayBrice Marden MarisolKyra MarkhamReginald MarshFletcher MartinAgnes MartinGordon Matta-ClarkCynthia MaughanKeith MayersonPaul McCarthyJohn McCrackenAdam McEwenJohn McLaughlinJosephine MeckseperJonas MekasAna MendietaSam MiddletonAleksandra MirJoan MitchellToyo MiyatakeLisette ModelDonald MoffettRaphael Montañez OrtizAbelardo MorellRobert MorrisMark MorrisroeGerald MurphyElizabeth MurrayJulie MurrayReuben NakianBruce NaumanAlice NeelLouise NevelsonBarnett NewmanIsamu NoguchiDavid NovrosJim NuttChiura ObataClaes OldenburgCatherine OpieJose Clemente OrozcoAlfonso OssorioTony OurslerBill OwensAkosua Adoma OwusuGeorgia O´KeeffeNam June PaikGordon ParksAgnes PeltonGuy Pene Du BoisRaymond PettibonElizabeth PeytonPaul PfeifferHowardena PindellAdrian PiperHorace PippinLari PittmanJackson PollockLiliana PorterRichard Pousette-DartRichard PrinceNancy Elizabeth ProphetNoah PurifoyR. H. QuaytmanWalid RaadYvonne RainerChristina RambergRobert RauschenbergCharles RayMan RayLuis RecoderRobert ReedJeffrey ReedEarl ReibackAd ReinhardtI. Rice PereiraHans RichterFaith RinggoldDorothea RockburneJames RosenquistMartha RoslerTheodore RoszakSusan RothenbergMark RothkoEd RuschaMorgan RussellBetye SaarDavid SalleLucas SamarasJacolby SatterwhitePeter SaulMatt SaundersMorton SchambergCarolee SchneemannDana SchutzDread ScottGeorge SegalRichard SerraBen ShahnJoel ShapiroPaul SharitsCharles SheelerCindy ShermanRoger ShimomuraEverett ShinnAmy SillmanLaurie SimmonsTaryn SimonLorna Simpson Sister Corita KentJohn SloanKiki SmithDavid SmithTony SmithJack SmithRobert SmithsonKeith SonnierEdward SteichenRalph SteinerJoseph StellaFrank StellaHarry SternbergHedda SterneFlorine StettheimerJohn Steuart CurryMay StevensAlfred StieglitzJohn StorrsMichelle Stuart SturtevantWayne ThiebaudAlma ThomasRirkrit TiravanijaGeorge TookerBill TraylorRyan TrecartinAnne TruittRichard TuttleCy TwomblyStan VanderbeekGertrude Vanderbilt WhitneyKara WalkerKelley WalkerCarl WaltersAndy WarholMax Weber WeegeeWilliam WegmanLawrence WeinerTom WesselmannH. C. WestermannCharles WhiteJack WhittenHannah WilkeChristopher WilliamsSue WilliamsFred WilsonGarry WinograndWilliam WinterKarl WirsumDavid WojnarowiczJordan Wolfson (1980)Martin WongGrant WoodFrancesca WoodmanChristopher Wool Wu TsangAndrew WyethWilliam Zorach 

curators

press release

Drawn entirely from the Whitney Museum of American Art’s collection, America Is Hard to See takes the inauguration of the Museum’s new building as an opportunity to reexamine the history of art in the United States from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. Comprising more than six hundred works, the exhibition elaborates the themes, ideas, beliefs, and passions that have galvanized American artists in their struggle to work within and against established conventions, often directly engaging their political and social contexts. Numerous pieces that have rarely, if ever, been shown appear alongside beloved icons in a conscious effort to unsettle assumptions about the American art canon.

The title, America Is Hard to See, comes from a poem by Robert Frost and a political documentary by Emile de Antonio. Metaphorically, the title seeks to celebrate the ever-changing perspectives of artists and their capacity to develop visual forms that respond to the culture of the United States. It also underscores the difficulty of neatly defining the country’s ethos and inhabitants, a challenge that lies at the heart of the Museum’s commitment to and continually evolving understanding of American art.

Organized chronologically, the exhibition’s narrative is divided into twenty- three thematic “chapters” installed throughout the building. These sections revisit and revise established tropes while forging new categories and even expanding the definition of who counts as an American artist. Indeed, each chapter takes its name not from a movement or style but from the title of a work that evokes the section’s animating impulse. Works of art across all mediums are displayed together, acknowledging the ways in which artists have engaged various modes of production and broken the boundaries between them.

America Is Hard to See reflects the Whitney’s distinct record of acquisitions and exhibitions, which constitutes a kind of collective memory—one that represents a range of individual, sometimes conflicting, attitudes toward what American art might be or mean or do at any given moment. By simultaneously mining and questioning our past, we do not arrive at a comprehensive survey or tidy summation, but rather at a critical new beginning: the first of many stories still to tell.

America Is Hard to See is organized by a team of Whitney curators, led by Donna De Salvo, Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs, including Carter E. Foster, Steven and Ann Ames Curator of Drawing; Dana Miller, Curator of the Permanent Collection; and Scott Rothkopf, Nancy and Steve Crown Family Curator and Associate Director of Programs; with Jane Panetta, Assistant Curator; Catherine Taft, Assistant Curator; and Mia Curran, Curatorial Assistant.