The Whitney Museum Launches New Public Art Series

Alex Katz (b. 1937), Katherine and Elizabeth, 2012. Oil on Linen, 72 x 186 inches. Collection of the artist; courtesy Gavin Brown’s enterprise. © Alex Katz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

The Whitney Museum of American Art (945 Madison Ave.; whitney.org) is hardly an institution to rest on its laurels. So while its major Jeff Koons retrospective continues to draw crowds and its brand-new building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District hammers toward its spring 2015 deadline, the museum has added yet another project to its docket.

Starting this month, the Whitney, in collaboration with TF Cornerstone and High Line Art, will install a series of large-scale works by American artists on the façade of the TF Cornerstone building, located at 95 Horatio Street, across from the museum’s new site.

“One of the very striking things about Renzo Piano’s design for the new building is the way in which he has tried to integrate it into the surroundings of the neighborhood,” says museum curator Chrissie Iles. “The whole building has this different layering of vistas and terraces that are designed to really engage with the neighborhood, visually and architecturally, rather than to just plunk some new big building down and say ‘We’re here!’”

The five-year-long series, still unnamed, will launch in mid-September with a new painting by New York–based artist Alex Katz. Katherine and Elizabeth, 2014, is an original 17-by-29-foot painting, digitally printed onto vinyl—a process and approximate size the pieces that succeed it will share.

“Alex Katz is one of those timeless artists,” Iles says. “He really appeals cross-generationally. We thought that was really interesting because it relates to what we do at the Whitney.”

Though details on the list of artists to follow Katz and the amount of time each work will remain on view are still undetermined, a schedule is in the works. Stay tuned.