Whitney Museum of American Art
Pavel Tchelitchew, Anatomical Painting, 1946.
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PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE IN PAVEL TCHELITCHEW

Farris Wahbeh, Benjamin and Irma Weiss Director of Research Resources, reflects on a favorite work in the Whitney’s collection.

When I look at Pavel Tchelitchew’s Anatomical Painting, I think of our bodies: our physical ones; our virtual ones, now accustomed to being displayed in boxed grids remotely; as well as the bodies of our four-pawed friends.

As news reports flash the numbers and counts of those we’re losing, Anatomical Painting reminds me of our enmeshed global world. In its meticulous rendering of the neuron-like rays emanating from the figure’s body, the painting is a cipher of our connected earth and how it depends on us to persevere while at the same time being resilient in the face of this pandemic.

Lincoln Kirstein, cofounder of the New York City Ballet and a close friend of the artist, donated this painting to the museum. Dance was a passion they both shared, and in the painting the body emanates strength as well as fragility: like the performed body in a ballet and the queer culture Kirstein and Tchelitchew embodied.

A week before New York City shut down, I experienced Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance on Broadway. Chronicling the lives of young gay men and how past generations of our community contribute to our present, the play makes manifest the joy and contradictions that history contributes to our lives—how a shared experience and a collective memory can meet, like a synapse, across time.

What will I remember of these days? I’ll remember Tchelitchew and his Anatomical Painting, which leaves me pondering our vibrant past, the uncertainty of our present, and our hopeful future of what we will become.

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: CAPTURING PERSPECTIVES

Still from "Whitney Stories Video: Vincent Punch," 2014

A GUARD’S EYE FOR ART

The Whitney’s beloved Vincent Punch on his connection to the Museum after fifteen years in the galleries.

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Installation view of Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined

TOYIN OJIH ODUTOLA: BY HER DESIGN

Discover how artist Toyin Ojih Odutola pushes portraiture beyond its roots and into the realm of the seemingly impossible.

READ NOW

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#WHITNEYFROMHOME ON INSTAGRAM

Charles Burchfield, Noontide in Late May, 1917.

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Many people are finding respite in the outdoors during this time of self-isolation. Artist Charles Burchfield, who was born in April 1893, viewed nature as a source of revelation.⁣

From late 1916 to early 1918, Burchfield produced an extraordinary group of imaginative watercolors that recalled his childhood fascination with natural forces. Noontide in Late May, pictured here, was one of these works based on a view of his neighbor’s garden in Salem, Ohio.⁣

Burchfield wrote on the back of this painting in pencil, describing it as “an attempt to interpret a child’s impression of noon-tide in late May—The heat of the sun streaming down & rosebushes making the air drowsy with their perfume.”⁣

FOLLOW ALONG

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THIS WEEK’S EVENTS

Rosie Lee Tompkins, Three Sixes, 1986.

ART HISTORY FROM HOME

Thursday at 12 and 5:30 pm

This series of online talks by the Whitney’s Joan Tisch Teaching Fellows highlights works in the Museum’s collection to illuminate critical topics in American art from 1900 to today.

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Clarissa Tossin, Ch'u Mayaa, 2017.

WHITNEY SCREENS: CLARISSA TOSSIN’S CH’U MAYAA

Friday at 7 pm

Every Friday evening, we’re featuring special online screenings of video works recently brought into the collection. This week, tune in for Clarissa Tossin’s Ch’u Mayaa, which considers the role of cultural appropriation in modernist architecture.

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Artmaking from Home photograph by Filip Wolak

ARTMAKING FROM HOME

Saturday at 3 pm

Join Whitney educators and experiment with ordinary materials in new and creative ways with these online artmaking events designed for all ages.

LEARN MORE

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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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Image credits:Pavel Tchelitchew, Anatomical Painting, 1946. Oil on canvas, 56 1/8 × 46 1/8 in. (142.6 × 117.2 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Lincoln Kirstein 62.26. © Pavel Tchelitchew

Still from “Whitney Stories Video: Vincent Punch,” 2014

Installation view of Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, October 20, 2017–February 25, 2018). Photograph by Ron Amstutz. Artwork © Toyin Ojih Odutola

Charles Burchfield, Noontide in Late May, 1917. Opaque and transparent watercolor, and graphite pencil on paper, 22 × 18 in. (55.9 × 45.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase 31.408. Reproduced with permission of the Charles E. Burchfield Foundation

Rosie Lee Tompkins, Three Sixes, 1986. Quilted polyester double-knit, wool jersey and cotton, 89 3/4 × 71 1/2 in. (228 × 181.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Committee 2003.70. © Estate of Rosie Lee Tompkins

Clarissa Tossin, Ch’u Mayaa, 2017. Video, color, sound, 17:56 min. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Film and Video Committee 2019.320. © Clarissa Tossin

Artmaking from Home photograph by Filip Wolak

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House on the Bluff

AAQ Resource: Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects

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