Stanley Whitney has been deeply invested in chromatic experimentation throughout his career, but it was the experience of Italian art and architecture, both ancient and modern, that informed his unique understanding of the nuanced relationship between color and geometry. His highly dynamic abstract paintings unlock the grid, imbuing it with new and unexpected cadences of color, rhythm, and space. Deriving inspiration from sources as diverse as Sandro Botticelli and Piet Mondrian, free jazz and American quilt-making, Whitney composes in varying scales with vibrant blocks and bars that articulate a chromatic call-and-response within each canvas.
Created in response to the covid-19 pandemic, the Artist Spotlight series highlights individual artists, one week at a time, whose exhibitions have been affected by the health crisis. A single artwork by the artist is made available with pricing information for forty-eight hours only.
Artist Spotlight: Stanley Whitney features a key work from the artist’s upcoming first major exhibition with Gagosian, in Rome, where he lived and worked during the 1990s.
The Space Is in the Color: Stanley Whitney
Stanley Whitney reflects on the evolution of his work with Louise Neri, from his formative early days in New York to the pivotal period he spent living and working in Rome, arriving at the highly distinctive paintings for which he is now known. They explore the diverse and surprising influences of art and music on Whitney’s oeuvre, as well as his process and practice.
Stanley Whitney: Rhythm and Vision
While preparing his first exhibition with Gagosian, in Rome, Stanley Whitney speaks with Louise Neri in his New York studio about how he arrived at his unique and intuitive approach to color and space in painting, employing a dynamic fusion of preordained structure and improvisation.
Stanley Whitney: The Ruins
For American painter Stanley Whitney, Italy remains a central and enduring source of inspiration. Matthew Jeffrey Abrams, the author of a new monograph on the artist, reflects on the profound and far-reaching influence of Italian art and architecture on Whitney’s art.
No to Prison Life
For his first public commission, Stanley Whitney used the H&R Block Artspace Project Wall at his alma mater, Kansas City Art Institute in Missouri, to display No to Prison Life (2019) from March 29, 2019 through January 31, 2020. Whitney’s Project Wall commission intentionally combined painting and handwritten text to register an urgent public protest against a US judicial system that promotes arrest, incarceration, and other forms of imprisonment that often further damage lives.
Stanley Whitney, No to Prison Life, 2019 © Stanley Whitney
American Academy of Arts and Letters
Stanley Whitney was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, in May 2017. Founded in 1898, the 250-person Academy is dedicated to the recognition of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. It also administers over seventy awards and prizes, exhibits art and manuscripts, funds performances, and purchases artwork for donation to museums across the country.
Photo: Miranda Leighfield
One Artist, One Work, One Week
Launching April 8, 2020
As arts institutions worldwide temporarily close their doors to support efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, exhibitions everywhere are being canceled, postponed, or curtailed. For artists who have invested time, energy, and resources preparing shows now directly affected by the health crisis, Gagosian is launching Artist Spotlight—a new, multifaceted program that invites individual artists to use the gallery’s online channels as an open platform, to present their work to the world and continue generating support for their studios.
Clockwise from top left: Sarah Sze, photo: courtesy MacArthur Foundation; Urs Fischer, photo: Chad Moore; Jennifer Guidi, photo: Brica Wilcox; Titus Kaphar, photo: John Lucas; and Jenny Saville, photo: Pal Hansen/Getty Images
Stanley Whitney in
Blue Is the Color of Your Eyes: On Materiality and Abstraction in the Moderna Museet Collection
February 2, 2019–March 1, 2020
Moderna Museet, Malmö, Sweden
Work by Stanley Whitney was included in Blue Is the Color of Your Eyes, where works by Louise Bourgeois were presented alongside key paintings and sculptures from the 1940s to the present by international artists in the Moderna Museet’s collection. Guiding the viewer through an examination of issues of materiality and abstraction, the exhibition highlighted a bodily approach to the creative process as well as social issues.
Stanley Whitney, Off Square, 2016, Moderna Museet, Stockholm © Stanley Whitney
April 8–September 17, 2017
Various locations in Kassel, Germany, and Athens
Sixteen paintings by Stanley Whitney were on display in Kassel, Germany, and in Athens as part of the fourteenth edition of Documenta, which takes place every five years. Documenta 14 included the presentation of works by more than 160 international artists, as well as concerts, screenings, readings, performances, and discussions.
Installation view, Documenta 14, Documenta Halle, Kassel, Germany, June 10–September 17, 2017. Artwork © Stanley Whitney
January 21–April 2, 2017
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas
This exhibition explored Stanley Whitney’s investigations into the intricate possibilities of color and form in the realm of abstract painting. Since the mid-1970s, Whitney has been known for his multicolored, irregular grids on square canvases. Taking the essentialist grid of Minimalism as his cue, his configurations are loose, uneven geometric lattices comprised of vibrant stacked color blocks that vary in hue, shape, and the handling of the paint.
Stanley Whitney, SunRa 2016, 2016 © Stanley Whitney
Dance the Orange
July 16–October 25, 2015
Studio Museum in Harlem, New York
Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange featured paintings and drawings created between 2008 and 2015. Following time spent in Italy and Egypt in the 1990s, Whitney developed the distinctive approach to color and space for which he is now known. Whitney’s paintings are rhythmic and lyrical, made according to a dynamic fusion of preordained structure and improvisation, with vibrant, irregular lozenges of color stacked loosely in square formats. The drawings, with their spontaneous, energetic lines, give insight into the parallel importance of this more intimate activity to his art practice.
Installation view, Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, July 16–October 25, 2015. Artwork © Stanley Whitney