New York

Focus: “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art”

Whitney Museum of American Art

In the Whitney the women do not

come and go

Talking of Hopper or Rothko

THE WOMEN WHO CIRCULATE most prominently at the Whitney these days are its daring curators: the ’93 Biennial, spearheaded by Elisabeth Sussman, and “Black Male,” curated by Thelma Golden, are the most visible signs of a change at the museum. Indeed the controversy surrounding such shows has defined the public perception that the museum’s collective mind is set on a revisionary course.

Do I dare

Disturb the universe?

With this question T. S. Eliot turned his anxious doppelgänger J. Alfred Prufrock into an agent of the avant-garde, a universal icon of high Modernism. As Whitney director David Ross and his colleagues steer the flagship of “American” art through the squalls of the culture wars, they interrogate a deeply rooted legacy of that Modernist heritage—what Eliot defined as art’s “impersonality.” The notion of

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