The Whitney Museum of American Art announced its lineup of summer public programs featuring a hybrid schedule of digital and in-person events. The diverse range of programs kicks off on June 17 and includes conversations and film screenings hosted virtually and onsite. The Museum will also host a free Pride celebration on June 24 featuring DJ REBORN and offer guided walking tours throughout the summer that explore the queer histories of the neighborhood surrounding the Museum. On July 24, the Whitney will present its annual recognition of the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with a virtual program hosted by Bronx-based dance artist and educator Kayla Hamilton, who leads a conversation with peer artists to celebrate the contributions of disabled artists of color.

The events will also foreground current exhibitions including Julie Mehretu, Dawoud Bey: An American Project, and Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself, as well as David Hammons’s Day’s End, the monumental public sculpture recently completed in Hudson River Park on the Gansevoort Peninsula. Alongside the artists Bey, McKenzie, and Mehretu, additional program participants include artist Torkwase Dyson; artist and educator Kayla Hamilton; film producer and director Edgar Howard; dj, arts educator, and sonic activist DJ REBORN; and Whitney curators and educators Adrienne Edwards, Rujeko Hockley, Josh Lubin-Levy, Elisabeth Sherman, and Elisabeth Sussman.

The Museum also announced that it will return to its pre-winter operating hours beginning Thursday, June 17. This marks the return to pay-what-you-wish hours on Friday evenings from 7 – 10 pm. Saturday evening hours will also be extended to 7 pm.

All events are free with advance registration. For Museum hours, event updates, and registration details, please visit

Julie Mehretu spray-painting Haka (and Riot) 2019. Still from Julie Mehretu: Palimpsest. Courtesy of Checkerboard Films.

Julie Mehretu: Palimpsest
Premiere screening, Thursday, June 17, 8 pm
Film available to stream on-demand June 18-20

The Museum will present the world premiere of Julie Mehretu: Palimpsest, a new feature documentary by Checkerboard Film Foundation about the artist and her mid-career survey Julie Mehretu, which is currently on view at the Whitney and is co-organized with the Los Angeles County Museum of Contemporary Art. The film traces Julie Mehretu’s preparations for the exhibition, leading up to the installation and realization of the survey at LACMA in 2019. The artist offers extensive commentary on her work, her process, and the chronology of her career, from her graduate work at RISD (1996-7) to her current expansive multi-layered canvases.

The screening is introduced by Whitney’s Arnhold Associate Curator Rujeko Hockley, who cocurated the exhibition, and Checkerboard Film Foundation President Edgar Howard. Advance registrants will receive an individual link via email to access the premiere screening on June 17 at 8 PM. The film will then be available for registrants to stream on-demand from June 18-20.

Checkerboard Film Foundation is a non-profit educational institution established in 1979 to document artists who are making unique and important contributions to the American arts. Checkerboard has produced over 70 films on influential painters, sculptors, photographers, architects, and writers.

Alvin Baltrop (1948-2004), Marsha P. Johnson, n.d. (1975-1986), print date unknown. Gelatin silver print, 4 5/8 × 6 5/8 in. (11.7 × 16.8 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Photography Committee 2018.184. © The Alvin Baltrop Trust

Queer History Walks
Sunday, June 20, 2 pm
Friday, June 25, 6:30 pm
Friday, July 23, 6:30 pm
Sunday, August 29, 2 pm
Advance registration required

This summer, the Whitney will host a series of free walking tours that explore the queer histories of the neighborhood surrounding the Museum. The walk will bring visitors to select sites near the Whitney building to reflect on the changing nature of queer community as it formed along the New York waterfront. Participants will visit the former sites of bars, clubs, and public spaces and consider the intersection between artistic and sexual experimentation that occurred alongside the piers of the West Side. The walk will culminate with a look at Day’s End (2021) by David Hammons, the new permanent public artwork that sketches the shape of the former Pier 52 building and references Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1975 work of the same name. The layered history of Hammons’s work serves as a model for how the queer history of the city remains a defining presence in the ever-changing landscape of the neighborhood that the Whitney now occupies.

The tour will be led by Josh Lubin-Levy, who is a Joan Tisch Senior Teaching Fellow at the Whitney. He holds a Ph.D. in performance studies from NYU and for the past ten years has worked as a dance dramaturg and performance curator. He currently teaches in the department of visual studies at the New School and at Wesleyan University and is the editor-in-chief of the Movement Research Performance Journal.

Capacity is limited to 12 people per tour. Masks and social distancing required. Participants must be able to call in from a personal mobile phone during the tour, and use of headphones is preferred.

Image by By Roberto Ricciuti. Courtesy of Getty Images.

Pride Celebration with Julie Mehretu
Thursday, June 24, 7 – 9:30 pm
RSVP required

In collaboration with artist Julie Mehretu, the Whitney celebrates Pride with a free after-hours event featuring an evening of music by DJ REBORN and refreshments on the Museum’s fifth floor terrace. Mehretu’s mid-career survey will be open for viewing in the Museum’s fifth floor Neil Bluhm Family Galleries during the event.

The health and safety of our guests and staff is our top priority and the Museum is following State and local COVID-19 guidelines. Accordingly, prior to entry, the Museum will require that guests provide evidence of a recent negative COVID test (within 72 hours) or completion of a COVID-19 vaccination series (at least 14 days prior to the event). In addition, face coverings and social distancing are required throughout the evening, and guests may not congregate except when seated.

Gordon Matta-Clark (1943-1978), Days End Pier 52.3 (Documentation of the action “Day’s End” made in 1975 in New York, United States), 1975, printed 1977. Gelatin silver print: sheet, 8 × 10 in. (20.3 × 25.4 cm); image, 7 × 9 3/4 in. (17.8 × 24.8 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Harold Berg 2017.134. © 2020 Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Ask a Curator: David Hammons and Gordon Matta-Clark in the Whitney’s Collection
Wednesday, June 30, 6:30 pm
Online via Zoom

Whitney curators Adrienne Edwards and Elisabeth Sussman host a special edition of “Ask a Curator” reflecting on the recent completion of Day’s End—a new public sculpture by the artist David Hammons that pays homage to an earlier work of the same name by Gordon Matta-Clark. In this conversation, the curators will explore the interconnections between Hammons and Matta-Clark through the lens of the Whitney’s collection, sharing their insights about works by each artist in the Whitney’s holdings and take questions from the audience.

Ask a Curator is an ongoing virtual event series that provides audiences an intimate look into the realization of Whitney exhibitions and allows for open conversation with the curators at the helm of each show.

Dawoud Bey, Untitled #25 (Lake Erie and Sky), from Night Coming Tenderly, Black, 2017. Gelatin silver print, 44 x 55 in. (111.8 x 139.7 cm); Framed: 51 3/8 x 59 5/16 in. Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Accessions Committee Fund purchase. ©Dawoud Bey

Narrative Materiality: Dawoud Bey and Torkwase Dyson in conversation
Monday, July 8, 6 pm
Online via Zoom

On the occasion of the Whitney presentation of Dawoud Bey: An American Project, photographer Dawoud Bey speaks in dialogue with interdisciplinary artist Torkwase Dyson about the intersections of their artistic practices and their shared concerns with materiality and narrative. Dyson’s essay Black Compositional Thought: Black Hauntology, Plantationscene, and Paradoxical Form appears in the accompanying exhibition catalogue Two American Projects, and meditates on Bey’s 2017 series Night Coming Tenderly, Black. Her work has appeared in Whitney exhibitions Between the Waters (2018) and in the 2010 Biennial.

The conversation is moderated by assistant curator Elisabeth Sherman, co-curator of An American Project.

Dave McKenzie, Disturbing the View, Commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, May 1, 2021. Photograph © Paula Court

Dave McKenzie in conversation with Adrienne Edwards
Thursday, July 15, 7 pm
Online via Zoom

On the occasion of the exhibition Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself, Dave McKenzie speaks with Adrienne Edwards, the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, to discuss his twenty-year performance practice and recently completed, Whitneycommissioned performance Disturbing the View.

The Story I Tell Myself is a focused presentation that pairs McKenzie’s performances for the camera and documentation of live art with works by artists who have informed the concepts, gestures, and sensibilities in his art, including Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Bruce Nauman, and Pope.L. The exhibition is on view in the Museum’s third floor Susan and John Hess Family Gallery through October 2, 2021.

Image by Filip Wolak. Post-show discussion after the 2018 ADA Anniversary Performance with Kinetic Light.

A conversation with Kayla Hamilton
Saturday, July 24, 6 pm
Online via Zoom

To mark the 31st anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Bronxbased dance artist and educator Kayla Hamilton showcases her work in conversation with peer artists as a celebration of the contributions of disabled artists of color.

Since 2015, Access and Community Programs at the Whitney has invited an artist or artist collective to share their work on the occasion of the anniversary of the passage of the ADA. Past artists have included Heidi Latsky Dance, Kinetic Light, Jerron Herman, and Rodney Evans. The ADA Anniversary performance celebrates and uplifts disability artistry.

Image by Matthew Carasella

Leave a Reply