NEW YORK.- Progress, a selection of works from the Whitneys collection that invites us to contemplate our conceptions of the notion of progress, opened in the Whitney Museum of American Arts second-floor Mildred & Herbert Lee Galleries. The installation, with works ranging in date from 1926 to 2008, is curated by Donna De Salvo, Chief Curator and Associate Director of Programs, and Gary Carrion-Murayari, Senior Curatorial Assistant; the selection of works will shift in the fall.
As described in the exhibition wall text, During the first half of 20th century, many American artists visualized the modernist faith in science and empirical knowledge. Individuals such as Josef Albers, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, and Frederick Kiesler transported the revolutionary aims of the European avant-garde, especially those of Russian constructivism and the Bauhaus, to the United States, where a homegrown modernism emerged. Their influence can be seen in works as varied as Barnett Newmans transcendent abstractions and Robert Rauschenbergs technology-driven Carnal Clocks. Other artists are more neutral or even critical in their responses to changes wrought on the American landscape and psyche. Ed Ruscha addresses modernitys linear advancement with cool detachment, tracking its effects over the passage of time, while the works of Louis Guglielmi and Robert Graham register an acute postwar anxiety toward urban sprawl and consumerism. The exhibition also features work by contemporary artists including Paul Sietsema, Glenn Ligon, and Sherrie Levine, who mine specific moments in the history of modernism to investigate the ways in which notions of progress have been used to construct systems of power and subjectivity that continue to affect contemporary life.
In addition to the artists mentioned above, Progress includes works by Dan Flavin, Naum Gabo, Barbara Kruger, Louis Lozowick, Danny Lyon, Ad Reinhardt, Joel Sternfeld, and Diana Thater, among others.