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The Whitney, TF Cornerstone, and High Line Art collaborate on outdoor Alex Katz installation

— September 2014

Associated media

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

In celebration of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s forthcoming move to its new Renzo Piano–designed building in the Meatpacking District, the Museum has partnered with TF Cornerstone and High Line Art on a series of public art installations. Unfolding over the course of the next five years, the Museum will mount a succession of works by key American artists on the facade of TF Cornerstone’s building at 95 Horatio Street directly across Gansevoort Street from the southern end of the High Line and the future Whitney, which will open to the public in spring 2015. The first installation, Katherine and Elizabeth, 2014, by the New York-based artist Alex Katz,  is expected to be unveiled in September.

The women depicted in Katherine and Elizabeth are friends and familiar subjects for Katz, who is known for his bright palette, graphic sensibility, and cinematic cropping. He made several studies in Maine in 2012 before completing the final work on which this 17-by-29-foot digital print on vinyl is based.

This installation is the latest of several public art projects the Whitney has been involved in organizing near its future home, underscoring its commitment to the surrounding neighbourhood. In 2010, the Museum launched Whitney on Site: New Commissions Downtown, which mounted site-specific works by Tauba Auerbach, GuytonWalker (a collaboration between Wade Guyton and Kelley Walker), and Barbara Kruger at the construction site. In 2011, the Museum tapped choreographer Elizabeth Streb to debut an original piece at the May groundbreaking ceremony for the new building, as well as the new work, ASCENSION, presented in Gansevoort Plaza in July. In 2012, the Whitney collaborated with DDG Partners to wrap the construction site on the building at 345 West 14th Street in Yayoi Kusama’Yellow Trees, and it worked with High Line Art for the installation of Richard Artschwager’s Blps along the High Line and on neighborhood structures. Both projects were pegged to retrospectives of the artists at the Whitney.

About Alex Katz

Alex Katz  was born in Brooklyn in 1927 and grew up in the St. Albans section of Queens. His Russian parents shared a deep interest in the arts. At Cooper Union’s School of Art, Katz was trained in modern art theories and techniques, later earning a scholarship for study at Maine’s Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture. Since 1951, Alex Katz's work has been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions throughout this country and internationally. His many honors include two honorary doctorate degrees, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy Museum in New York, a Philip Morris Distinguished Artist Award from the American Academy in Berlin, and The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art’s Annual Artist of the City Award. In 1974, the Whitney mounted an exhibition of his prints, and presented a mid-career retrospective of his work in 1986. An exhibition entitled Alex Katz: Small Paintings, organized by the Addison Gallery of American Art, traveled to the Whitney in 2001.

Whitney Museum of American Art

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New York, NY 10021

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