June 28, 2023–February 2024
The Inheritance traces ideas of what we have been left with or received from the past across familial, historical, and aesthetic lines. Featuring mostly new acquisitions and works not frequently on view at the Museum, this exhibition explores ideas of (re)birth, (re)generation, repetition, and recursiveness through a diverse array of permanent collection works from the 1970s to today.
Drawing inspiration from Ephraim Asili’s 2020 film of the same title, The Inheritance interweaves narrative with documentary, layering everyday, individual experiences atop historical and generational events. Rather than draw a distinction, the exhibition considers the notion of inheritance as a concept or method of transmission: from one time to the next, one person to the next, one idea to the next. Spanning the last six decades, the painting, sculpture, video, photography, and installation works on view ask us to consider what has been passed on, and how that may shift, change, or live again. Rather than blind acceptance of our current state, these works ask us to wonder what is beneath what we see, what previous ideas and experiences inform us, and fundamentally, how did we get here, as individuals and as a society?
Artists featured in this exhibition include Ephraim Asili, Kevin Beasley, Diedrick Brackens, Beverly Buchanan, John Edmonds, Chitra Ganesh, Todd Gray, Wade Guyton, David Hartt, Mary Kelly, Maggie Lee, Dindga McCannon, Lorraine O’Grady, Kambui Olujimi, John Outterbridge, Sophie Rivera, Carissa Rodriguez, Sturtevant, Hank Willis Thomas, Clarissa Tossin, WangShui, Kara Walker, Joan Wallace, and Bruce and Norman Yonemoto.
This exhibition is organized by Rujeko Hockley, Arnhold Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.