press release

NEW YORK, February 13, 2008 – From February 19, 2009 to May 3, 2009, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents Sites, an exhibition exploring the various ways that artists have expanded and dealt with the notion of site or place. Drawn from the museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition comprises approximately 50 works made between 1969 and 2005, including selected drawings, sculptures, prints, photographs, film and video. The exhibition is curated by Whitney curator Carter E. Foster and senior curatorial assistant Gary Carrion-Murayari.

Instead of attempting to realistically depict physical places—interiors, landscapes, or city views—artists have pushed the boundaries of sculpture and adopted time-based media to forge a connection between viewers and their surroundings. This resulted in works that not only represent sites but also serve as locations for a new kind of physical experience or imaginative contemplation.

The exhibit includes works by artists such as David Smith who, throughout his career, created complex photographic compositions of sculptures and the places that inspired them. This expanded the relationship between the work and the site of its creation and ultimately served as a precedent for artists of the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Robert Morris, Barry Le Va, and Michael Heizer. These featured artists conceived their sculptural work with a particular place in mind and used drawing to delineate their artistic actions before execution. A group of prints by Robert Morris, for example, propose a number of dramatic interventions into the landscape while the work of Agnes Denes transforms familiar images of the natural environment to suggest utopian relationships between us and our surroundings.

Artists have more recently moved fluidly between the site-specific and the visionary—often using drawing and video to combine these two positions. Works by Doug Aitken and Gary Simmons reveal this shift; Simmons’ wall drawing registers the trace of the artist’s presence in chalk, while Doug Aitken’s?? multi-screen video installation??offers an experience of time and space between the real and the imaginary. Other artists include Vito Acconci, Alice Aycock, Robert Gober, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra, and James Turrell, among others.