Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange, is the first New York City solo museum exhibition of the work of a painter (born Philadelphia, 1946) whose intensely color-based abstractions have won steadily mounting recognition since the mid-1990s. On view from July 16 through October 25, 2015, the exhibition will feature twenty-nine paintings and works on paper created between 2008 and 2015, including the 2013 title work.
“The Studio Museum in Harlem was one of the first institutions to present the work of the remarkable Stanley Whitney, including it in the 1981 group show Enroute,” said Director and Chief Curator Thelma Golden. “We feel honored now to present his richly deserved first solo museum exhibition in New York. The fact that Stanley Whitney moved to this city in 1968, the year when the Studio Museum was founded, and now will light up our galleries as we approach our 50th anniversary, makes this exhibition a historic moment for both of us.”
Educated as an artist in the Midwest, New York City and New Haven (Yale MFA 1972), Stanley Whitney has won critical praise in recent years for his gallery shows and has received honors including the American Academy of Arts and Letters Art Award (2010) and the first Robert De Niro Sr. Prize in Painting (2011). By his own account, though, as he recalled in an interview with critic John Yau, he spent the early part of his career searching for an artistic practice that would feel authentic to him: “I was in the studio, struggling and struggling, from ’72 to the late ’80s, just trying to make work.”
Following time spent in Italy and then later in Egypt in the mid-1990s, Whitney developed the weighty, almost architectural approach that has now become his signature style. Rhythmic and lyrical, with a combination of pre-ordained structure and improvisation inspired in part by his love of jazz, the square-format paintings arrange rectangles of vivid, single colors in a deliberately irregular grid, with the close-fitting, many-hued “bricks” or “tiles” stacked vertically and arrayed in horizontal bands.
Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange is organized for the Studio Museum by Lauren Haynes, Associate Curator, Permanent Collection.
A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition, featuring contributions by Lauren Haynes, Robert Storr, Lowery Stokes Sims and Stanley Whitney, with a foreword by Thelma Golden.