New York

New York

“The American Century: Art & Culture 1950–2000”

Whitney Museum of American Art
99 Gansevoort Street
September 26, 1999–February 13, 2000

If you thought the Whitney bit off more than it could chew with Part I (1900–1950) of its encyclopedic survey “The American Century,” wait till you see Part II. Instead of cozily sized, determinedly modernist paintings selected by one curator, the second act, chosen by a squadron led by now former Whitneyite Lisa Phillips, includes everything from a barnful of canvases by the AbExers short-shrifted in Part I to the last word in installation. In this post-“triumph” segment the artwork is complemented with sites that explore “American cultural, social and political developments from 1950 through the 1990s.” In other words, fifty years of gargantuan art “contextualized” by the propinquity of toaster ovens and Simpsons reruns.