Whitney Museum of American Art
Program: Access to Arts
Area of Work: Arts
Grant Purpose: David Hammons' "Day's End" Public Art Project
The Whitney Museum of American Art seeks to be the defining museum of twentieth- and twenty-first-century American art. The Museum collects, exhibits, preserves, researches, and interprets art of the United States in the broadest global, historical, and interdisciplinary contexts. As the preeminent advocate for American art, the Whitney fosters the work of living artists at critical moments in their careers. The Whitney educates a diverse public through direct interaction with artists, often before their work has achieved general acceptance.
Purpose: To support the realization of David Hammons’s Day’s End public art installation on the Hudson River.
The Illumination Fund has been a major supporter of the Whitney Museum for many years, and endowed the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Education in 2015 when the Museum opened its new building in the Meatpacking District. The Center is the Whitney’s first permanent education space in its 85-year history, and provides opportunities for museum educators to work in innovative ways, offering audiences drop-in programming, hands-on learning, and in-depth and interdisciplinary programming. The Laurie M. Tisch Education Center is a hub where visitors can engage with artists and enliven and enrich their museum experience.
To learn about the impact of the Education Center, visit the case study on the Illumination Fund’s website.
Most recently, the Illumination Fund is a major supporter of the public art project Day’s End, which the Whitney Museum is helping to realize for New York–based artist David Hammons. It will be located in Hudson River Park along the southern edge of Gansevoort Peninsula, directly across from the Museum. The artwork derives its inspiration and name from Gordon Matta-Clark’s 1975 artwork in which he cut five openings into the original Pier 52 shed. Hammons’s artwork will be an open structure that precisely follows the outline, dimensions, and location of the original shed. Hammons’s poetic structure will become a “ghost monument” to the earlier work and also allude to the history of New York’s waterfront—from the nineteenth and twentieth century pier sheds that stood along the Hudson River during the heyday of New York’s shipping industry to the reclaimed piers that became an important gathering place for the gay community.
The concept came about more than five years ago when David Hammons visited the Whitney’s new downtown home and looked out over the river where Gordon Matta-Clark’s Day’s End had stood decades prior. Created by the Whitney Museum in close association with the Hudson River Park Trust, the new work of public art is a gift to New York City and will offer an extraordinary place to experience the waterfront, monument of the Museum’s belief in the civic and social role of art.