Whitney Museum of American Art
Huma Bhabha, Untitled, 2008.

FACING THE UNKNOWN IN HUMA BHABHA

Curatorial assistant Ambika Trasi reflects on a favorite work in the Museum’s collection.

It feels impossible to think about the future right now. We seem to be living in an alien world ruled by unknowns, which makes Huma Bhabha’s Untitled feel especially resonant to me at this moment.

While best known for her large-scale sculptures of hybrid beings, Bhabha created Untitled as part of a series of drawings made over photographs she took of deserts and abandoned construction sites in Pakistan. Its perspective foregrounds the feet of an apparently solitary figure, whose stance looks remarkably mighty in spite of the barren landscape and striking red sky in the distance.

Like so many others, I’m overwhelmed by the onslaught of reports of how many we are losing and by all the anticipated futures that have dissolved or mutated. At times, I feel far removed from the familiar, as though I too am looking out at an alien landscape. Yet being in quarantine with family in my hometown has brought me closer to my childhood than I have been in years.

Like one of Bhabha’s beings, I feel paradoxically ancient and young. But each day, I do my best to plant my feet firmly on the ground and take things one step at a time—vulnerable, but valiant in the face of relentless uncertainty.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Scott Rothkopf with Glenn Ligon outside of the Whitney Museum.

WHITNEY WEDNESDAYS

May 13, at 7 pm

In our new conversation series on Instagram Live, we bring together diverse voices from our community to talk art, life, and all things Whitney. This week, we’re featuring Scott Rothkopf, Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, speaking with artist Glenn Ligon.

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ART HISTORY FROM HOME

Thursday, May 14, at 12 pm
Tuesday, May 19, at 6 pm

These online talks by the Whitney’s Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows highlight works in the Museum’s collection to illuminate critical topics in American art. Join us for upcoming talks exploring video as an artistic medium and art’s role in documenting and building queer communities.

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Tuan Andrew Nguyen, production photograph for The Island, 2017.

WHITNEY SCREENS

Friday, May 15, at 7 pm

Every Friday, we’re featuring special screenings of video works recently brought into the collection. Tune in this week to see Tuan Andrew Nguyen’s The Island—a short film presented at the 2017 Whitney Biennial that imagines a dystopian future on Pulau Bidong, an island off the coast of Malaysia.

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Pepón Osorio, Angel: The Shoe Shiner, 1993.

ARTMAKING FROM HOME

Saturday, May 16, at 3 pm

Experiment with ordinary materials in new and creative ways with these online artmaking events designed for all ages. This week, we’ll be making monuments to essential workers using an assortment of materials you’ll find easily around the house.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: 100 TAKES ON ART IN AMERICA

Still from "Glenn Ligon: AMERICA," 2011

GLEN LIGON’S ARTISTIC ORIGINS

Ahead of his 2011 Whitney retrospective, Ligon discusses how influences as varied as American history, James Baldwin, and Charles Dickens have shaped his body of work.

WATCH NOW

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Jane Panetta addresses Achilles Heel by Nicole Eisenman

99 OBJECTS

Dive deep into our collection by listening to artists, writers, and Whitney staff muse on works presented in our inaugural exhibition at 99 Gansevoort Street, America Is Hard to See.

LISTEN NOW

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#WHITNEYFROMHOME ON INSTAGRAM

B-I-N-G-O! As we celebrate our fifth anniversary in the Meatpacking District, we want to hear from you. How many of these Whitney memories have you made with us? Fill out your bingo card, then be sure to tag your museum-loving friends and share with us @whitneymuseum.

FOLLOW ALONG

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SUPPORT THE WHITNEY

Consider making a gift or becoming a member during this unprecedented time to help the Museum continue all the work that we do to champion American art and artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

MAKE A DONATION
BECOME A MEMBER
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Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street New York, NY 10014
whitney.org

      

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AAQ Resource: Otis Ford, Since 1946, Quogue

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Image credits: Huma Bhabha, Untitled, 2008. Ink on chromogenic print, 13 7/16 × 20 in. (34.1 × 50.8 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Drawing Committee 2008.31. © Huma Bhabha

Scott Rothkopf with Glenn Ligon outside of the Whitney Museum. Image courtesy Scott Rothkopf

Joan Jonas, Vertical Roll, 1972. Video, black-and-white, sound, 19:38 min., aspect ratio: 4:3. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Film and Video Committee 2000.189. © Joan Jonas. Courtesy Electronic Arts Intermix (EAI), New York

Tuan Andrew Nguyen, production photograph for The Island, 2017. Ultra-high-definition video, color, sound; 42:05 min. Courtesy the artist

Pepón Osorio, Angel: The Shoe Shiner, 1993. Painted wood, rubber, fabric, glass, ceramic, shells, painted cast iron, two video monitors, two color videotapes, hand-tinted photographs, paper and mirror, dimensions variable; aspect ratio: 4:3. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee 93.100. © Pepón Osorio

Still from “Glenn Ligon: AMERICA,” 2011

Jane Panetta addresses Achilles Heel by Nicole Eisenman at a “99 Objects” talk on June 5, 2015