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The Whitney Museum of American Art present ‘Inheritance’ an exhibition of nearly sixty artworks by forty-three leading artists that traces the profound impact of legacy across familial, historical, and aesthetic lines.

John Edmonds, Tête d’Homme, 2018. Inkjet print, 23 5/8 × 29 9/16 in. (60 × 75.1 cm). Edition 3/3. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Henry Nias Foundation 2020.38. © John Edmonds

‘Inheritance’ traces the profound impacts of legacy and the past across familial, historical, and aesthetic lines. Featuring new acquisitions and rarely-seen works from the Whitney collection by forty-three leading artists, the exhibition includes paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs, and time-based media installations from the 1970s to today. This diverse array of works consider what has been passed on and how it may shift, change, or live again.

Drawing inspiration from Ephraim Asili’s 2020 film of the same title, ‘Inheritance‘ reflects on multiple meanings of the word, whether celebratory or painful, from one era, person, or idea to the next. The exhibition takes a layered approach to storytelling by interweaving narrative with documentary and personal experiences with historical and generational events. A group of works examining the cycle from birth to death opens the exhibition, while other galleries take up different kinds of lineages, such as how artists borrow from and remake art history or unspool legacies of racialised violence and their recurrences.

The poet Rio Cortez speaks of being “framed by our future knowing” – even as we sit in this moment, we slide backward and forward in time, between our foremothers and the descendants we will never know. Rather than passively accepting our current state, the artists whose work is on view here ask: How did we get here, as individuals and as a society, and where are we going?

Kevin Beasley, The Road, 2019. Polyurethane resin, raw Virginia cotton, Virginia soil,Virginia twigs,Virginia pine needles, housedresses, kaftans, t-shirts, du-rags, altered house dresses, altered kaftans, altered t-shirts, altered garments, altered tires, scarf, guinea fowl feathers, down feathers, copper, jewelry, shoelaces, mobilephone, burlapsatchel, windshield wipers, altered African fabrics, socks, Timberland boots, aluminum, steel, 243.8 x 304.8 x 25.4cm. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Painting and Sculpture Committee in memory of Ron Burrell 2021.59.© KevinBeasley. Photograph by Jason Wyche, courtesy of the artist and Casey Kaplan Gallery, NewYork
Faith Ringgold, United States of Attica, 1971. Offset lithograph, 54.3 x 69.1cm. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of ACA Galleries in honour of Faith Ringgold 2017.163. © 2023 Faith Ringgold/Artists Rights Society (ARS),New York
Sadie Barnette, Family Tree II, 2022. Framed drawings on paper with spray paint, archival pigment print photographs, and collages with overlaid rhinestones totalling 34 works, and found couch with holographic vinyl, 495.3 x 518.2 x 86.4cm.Whitney Museum of American Art, NewYork; purchase with funds from the Director’s Discretionary Fund, Bill Gautreaux, the Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Collection, and the Jackson Family Trust.© Sadie Barnette, courtesy of the artist and McEvoy Foundation for the Arts,San Francisco. Photograph by Henrik Kam

Artists featured in this exhibition include Ephraim Asili, Sadie Barnette, Kevin BeasleyDiedrick BrackensBeverly BuchananWidline CadetAndrea CarlsonJonathan Lyndon ChaseRalston CrawfordMary Beth EdelsonJohn EdmondsKevin Jerome EversonChitra GaneshTodd GrayWade GuytonDavid HarttEmily JacirWakeah JhaneMary KellyDeana LawsonAn-My LêMaggie LeeSherrie LevineDindga McCannonAna Mendieta, Thaddeus Mosley, Lorraine O’GradyKambui OlujimiJohn OutterbridgePat PhillipsFaith RinggoldSophie RiveraCarissa RodriguezCameron RowlandSturtevantHank Willis ThomasClarissa TossinKara Walker, Joan Wallace, Carrie Mae WeemsWangShui, and Bruce and Norman Yonemoto

This exhibition is organised by Rujeko Hockley, Arnhold Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The exhibition is on view from the 28th of June, 2023, until February, 2024. For more information, please visit the Whitney Museum of American Art.

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