Gregory Crewdson, Untitled (north by northwest), 2004
Edward Hopper and Alexander Calder
The Withney Museum of American Art is devoting the galleries in its fifth-floor mezzanine to the work of the two artists with whom the Museum has been most closely identified, Edward Hopper and Alexander Calder. By reducing all elements in his composition to their essential geometries and treating light as a palpable presence, Edward Hopper imbued his images of everyday life with what the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson called an “alienated majesty“.
Edward Hopper, A Woman in the Sun, 1961
One of two permanent collection displays on the Museum’s fifth-floor mezzanine, Edward Hopper and Photography pairs Hopper paintings from the Whitney’s permanent collection with the work of contemporary photographers who share an interest in elevating everyday subject matter by manipulating light. The six photographers represented in this presentation, Gregory Crewdson, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, William Eggleston, Steve Fitch, Todd Hido, and Stephen Shore, record mundane subjects but endow their photographs with emotional poignancy and mystery similar to that in Hopper’s art.
Alexander Calder, Varèse, c. 1930
The Whitney’s collection is the largest repository of Alexander Calder’s work in the world. Collecting Calder, one of two permanent collection displays on the Museum’s fifth-floor mezzanine, presents a selection of Alexander Calder sculptures and drawings, giving equal focus to the two major aspects of the artist’s oeuvre: Calder’s Circus and his later work in abstraction. For the former, Calder employed ordinary materials – wire, string, cork, wood, paper, bits of metal, and cloth -to create a miniature circus, whose acts he staged for friends and patrons as narrator and puppeteer between 1926 and 1931.
Alexander Calder, Calder’s Circus, 1926–31
His later mobiles, inspired in part by his visit to Piet Mondrian’s studio in 1930, use an ingenious system of weights and counterbalances that allowed each piece’s suspended parts to move in response to air currents, retaining the movement of the circus performances. A selection of these works are also on view along with a group of the artist’s stabiles, or static sculptures.
JULY 17–OCT 19, 2014
Whitney Museum of American Art
945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street
New York, NY 10021