New York: Field Trip to Whitney Museum of American Art

Yesterday, I went on a field trip with my college that took us to the Whitney Museum of American Art. The purpose of this field trip is to help students explore careers and possibly introduce them to internships while bringing them to places. While I am a museum lover, I didn’t think of going on this field trip for the sole purpose of trying to obtain an internship. I wanted to check out what this popular museum in New York was about but at the same time, I also got great insight from professionals that I will keep in mind when I am in the works for an internship or future job.

Whitney Museum’s exterior design. Photo credit: Whitney.org.

The Whitney Museum of American Art or also called The Whitney, named after its founder (art patron and sculptor Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney), is a museum that presents 20th and 21st century artwork that is collected, preserved, researched, and exhibited in the museum. It is known to be one of the finest holdings for 20th century American art in the world — it has a reputation for displaying many contemporary American art and for its signature exhibition. Its signature exhibition called the Biennial usually displays its contemporary artwork from the past two years.

Located in the meatpacking district of New York, The Whitney has a distinctive outer exterior, which was rebuilt by architect Renzo Piano in 2015 and this project took $760 million dollars to rebuild!! This museum has eight floors and to me, I believe this museum is truly one of a kind.

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When the students, the faculty, and I arrived at the museum, we waited at the main entrance until we were given permission to go upstairs and while we were waiting, we saw these banners hung up with a dark theme to it. Then we were lead upstairs. On the staircases, it was lit up all neon purple with odd figurines hung in the center of the staircase.

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We all sat down in this room, what appeared to look like a meeting room and we were offered water bottles and cookies. The Human Resources Manager for Whitney came into the room, introduced herself, handed out museum guide brochures and tickets that were priced at $0.00 (we had to pay nothing at all for the field trip. Love it.), and then started talking about the museum and presenting facts to us.

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After she was done doing her presentation, she had five other workers for the Whitney come in. There was the other human resources worker, editorial assistant, special event coordinator, exhibit assistant, and the human resources assistant. For two hours, they talked to us students about how four of these young workers had gotten their job and what their position is, their experiences of having that job and their past internships and jobs before landing this one, how they review internship applications, and how the process is since we have been told they received hundreds of applications. It was all very informative. They even pointed out tips on how to have a professional looking cover letter, application, and interviewing do’s and don’ts. Their informative explanations are definitely great to keep in mind no matter where you want your career to go on focus.

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It was a rainy Friday that day. You can see the Hudson river outside the conference room.

After this seminar, we were then given permission to be able to tour the museum all for ourselves. I first went to the 5th floor, which is exhibiting Biennial artwork. One of the first artworks that captured my attention there was this display with two mannequins in bathing suits, wearing virtual reality masks as their “snorkeling goggles”, “breathing out” from their tubes connected to a rose gold iPhone 6s plus, and huge tablets surrounding them, changing backgrounds to wavy patterns to an iPhone camera’s settings. You can see fish toys were on top of the tablets in the picture below. I thought this was an interesting mockery because this definitely appealed and described our millennial generation and our obsessions with technology.

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The Baloney Wall, well what I call it at least, was cool too. It has stimulating pastel colors highlighting balonies that occupied each space outside and inside the room. Sometimes, there were small pictures engraved into the balonies.

The mannequin legs connected to a display screen or gallery board was interesting.

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My favorite from that floor was seeing this room, embraced with a huge mock stain-glassed window. It was created by Raul de Nieves and created only in four months. He also created these sculptures inside the room, designed with beads and paper costumes. It blows my mind that these artists would specifically create it to showcase it to the museum and it’s why I never try to underestimate my appreciation for their hard work.

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Truth. Justice. Harmony.

 

I saw huge blown up book pages in this book called Censorship Now!! by Ian F. Svenonius. There were underlined or highlighted parts of the pages that demonstrated important messages to come across people.

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A graph created with random objects and artwork

Going to the floor above, which was the 6th floor and still displaying Biennial artwork, I came across more visually striking artwork.

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An artist creates art from bathroom installments like showers

There were paintings incorporated into photography displayed in the gallery:

My favorite from this floor was a series of paintings by Celeste Dupuy-Spencer. His paintings are terrific and I love what he’s trying to convey in them. My favorite was “Veteran’s Day”. Here are some of his work:

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“Veteran’s Day”by Celeste Dupuy-Spencer

On the same floor, there is a series of furniture that are spray painted and tipped on angles… like this couch:

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There is an arboretum room with planted trees and neon pink lights overlooking them. According to a museum worker, she says that these different plants were planted and bought in by different people and people have bought different and random items set aside near them. When you walk in, you can smell some incense.

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There is also photojournalism displayed. This picture was shot from the film shooting of Free State of Jones.

Onto the 7th floor, this is the floor for “Human Interest: Portraits from the Whitney’s Collection”.  Of course coming from the name of the floor itself, this consists of paintings of people as symbols.

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Black and white sketches and paintings combined with black and white photography

In the last floor, the 8th floor, is “Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s”. This has paintings all made during the 1980s.

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“When the Worlds Collide” by Kenny Scharf
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“A Visit to/A visit From/The Island” by Eric Fischl

Now, here are some of my favorite paintings from the museum:

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“The Three Graces: Art, Sex, and Death” by Robert Colescott
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“Baron Sinister” by Walter Robinson
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“Shitty Disco” by Tala Madani
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“Tallest Residential Tower in the Western Hemisphere” by Leidy Churchman

Sorry for the lengthy post but I hope this gave you a sneak peak of what to expect when you go into the Whitney. If you don’t visit it this year or whenever these exhibit periods are done, I hope you enjoy the next artwork in the next Biennial exhibits. It has so much amazing artwork that I couldn’t all fit into here but this museum is worth a trip for you to discover.

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