American Art 1975-1995

From 21 October 1997 to 18 January 1998

Curated by the Whitney Museum of American Art, Eugenie Tsai

The exhibition presents a selection of works of American artists from the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum, which, with more then eleven thousand artworks, represents the most important museum in the world dedicated to the art of the United States.

It begins with a selection of Abstract Expressionist works, followed by works of Minimal Art and the most radical forms of abstraction from the ‘Seventies, to then move on to works by artists who, in the subsequent two decades, produced a wide range of stylistic research focused on social themes, racial conflicts and mass culture. Indeed the period between 1975 and 1995 saw the emergence of personalities and movements that, challenging the predominantly formal premises of previous years, reveal a greater engagement in terms of content. American art from these decades questions the society from which it has emerged and the relationships that this society forms with the world. Beginning with the postwar period, the increasing contrast between America and Europe had pushed both realities to seek out and define a cultural specificity. Between 1975 and 1995 American artists develop an awareness that this specific quality is not unified, but is characterized by many voices, many traditions and many cultures that coexist. It is an art that is also distinguished by a great multiplicity of expressive directions, as the extreme stylistic variety of the exhibited works demonstrates, from the photographs of Cindy Sherman and Catherine Opie, which deal with the relationship between individual and society, to the video installations of Tony Oursler, which refer to situations of marginalization and unease, to the objects of Jeff Koons, which allude to consumerist symbology.

[F.G.]

From 21 October 1997 to 18 January 1998