Image credit: Peter Burr, screenshot of Sunshine Monument at sunrise, 2023. Commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art
The Whitney Museum of American Art launches Sunshine Monument, a new digital art project by artist Peter Burr, on whitney.org. The project was commissioned for artport, the Museum’s online gallery space for net art commissions. Burr’s work is part of the ongoing Sunrise/Sunset series that activates across the Museum’s website twice a day at sunrise and sunset in New York City.
Sunshine Monument presents a series of seven animated architectures — one for each day of the week — that references the Museum’s structures literally and symbolically. Wandering figures populating the abstract building highlight the contrast between the ephemeral quality of a flow of short-term visitors to a museum site and the long-term engagement of its stakeholders, from artists to museum staff and patrons. Each scrolling animation that appears on the website twice daily reflects both the underlying formal principles of whitney.org and the current moment of web design. The animations appear in Burr’s signature style of animated black-and-white graphic elements. The graphic representations transform the text blocks and images on the website into an abstract building, yet still maintain the site’s adaptability to navigate the vertical and horizontal orientation of a computer screen or mobile device. The animations strive to channel the atmosphere of the late Web 2.0 landscape of social media and user-generated content, characterized by an increasingly indexed, optimized, and gamified environment.
“Sunshine Monument uses the moment of sunrise and sunset as a metaphor to reflect on cycles in museum structures, from the flow of visitors to changes in web design,” says Christiane Paul, Curator of Digital Art at the Whitney. “It aggregates these structures in a graphic world that subtly raises questions about the “frameworks” of art institutions.”
Burr frames the project as a monument to the sun, making a round icon the centerpiece for an architectural organism commemorating the sun and driven by its rise and disappearance. Interspersed text elements, which were generated by the artist using AI as a tool, poetically reflect on sunlight and museum structures.
Sunshine Monument is commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Sunrise/Sunset series is overseen by Christiane Paul, Curator of Digital Art, for artport. Unfolding over a time frame of thirty seconds, each Sunrise/Sunset project disrupts, replaces, or engages with the Museum website as an information environment.
More information on Sunshine Monument is available on whitney.org.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Peter Burr (b. 1980) is a Brooklyn-based artist whose practice often engages with tools of the video game industry in the form of immersive cinematic artworks. His works have been presented internationally by institutions including Documenta 14, Athens; MoMA PS1, New York; and The Barbican Centre, London.
Previously Burr worked under the alias Hooliganship and founded the video label Cartune Xprez through which he produced hundreds of live multimedia exhibitions and touring programs showcasing a multi-generational group of artists at the forefront of experimental animation. His practice has been recognized through grants and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Creative Capital Grant, and a Sundance New Frontier Fellowship. He is a faculty member of Sarah Lawrence College’s Filmmaking department.
artport is the Whitney Museum’s portal to Internet art and an online gallery space for net art and new media art commissions. Launched in 2001, artport provides access to original commissioned artworks, documentation of net art and new media art exhibitions at the Whitney, and new media art in the Museum’s collection. Recent commissions include Rick Silva’s Liquid Crystal (2023); Auriea Harvey’s SITE1 (2023); Amelia Winger-Bearskin’s Sky/World Death/World (2022); Mimi Ọnụọha’s 40% of Food in the US is Wasted (How the Hell is That Progress, Man?) (2022); Rachel Rossin’s THE MAW OF (2022); and Devin Kenney’s Ongoing, Individual Adaptability or How to Quiet Quit (2022). Access these and more projects at whitney.org/artport.
ABOUT THE WHITNEY
The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by the artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875–1942), houses the foremost collection of American art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Mrs. Whitney, an early and ardent supporter of modern American art, nurtured groundbreaking artists when audiences were still largely preoccupied with the Old Masters. From her vision arose the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has been championing the most innovative art of the United States for ninety years. The core of the Whitney’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is innovative and influential in American art today.
Whitney Museum Land Acknowledgment
The Whitney is located in Lenapehoking, the ancestral homeland of the Lenape. The name Manhattan comes from their word Mannahatta, meaning “island of many hills.” The Museum’s current site is close to land that was a Lenape fishing and planting site called Sapponckanikan (“tobacco field”). The Whitney acknowledges the displacement of this region’s original inhabitants and the Lenape diaspora that exists today.
As a museum of American art in a city with vital and diverse communities of Indigenous people, the Whitney recognizes the historical exclusion of Indigenous artists from its collection and program. The Museum is committed to addressing these erasures and honoring the perspectives of Indigenous artists and communities as we work for a more equitable future. To read more about the Museum’s Land Acknowledgment, visit the Museum’s website.
The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort Street between Washington and West Streets, New York City. Public hours are: Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 10:30 am–6 pm; Friday, 10:30 am–10 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 am–6 pm. Closed Tuesday. Visitors eighteen years and under and Whitney members: FREE. Admission is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 7–10 pm. COVID-19 vaccination and face coverings are not required but strongly recommended. We encourage all visitors to wear face coverings that cover the nose and mouth throughout their visit.