David Whitney
David Whitney was an American art curator, collector, gallerist and critic. He led a very private life and was not well known outside the art world, even though he participated naked in the 1965 Claes Oldenburg
Claes Oldenburg
Claes Oldenburg is a Swedish sculptor, best known for his public art installations typically featuring very large replicas of everyday objects...

A happening is a performance, event or situation meant to be considered art, usually as performance art. Happenings take place anywhere , are often multi-disciplinary, with a nonlinear narrative and the active participation of the audience...

 Washes. He was the life partner of architect Philip Johnson
Philip Johnson
Philip Cortelyou Johnson was an influential American architect.In 1930, he founded the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and later , as a trustee, he was awarded an American Institute of Architects Gold Medal and the first Pritzker Architecture...

 (1906–2005), for 45 years until their deaths six months apart and also a close friend of Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol
Andrew Warhola , known as Andy Warhol, was an American painter, printmaker, and filmmaker who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art...


Personal life

Whitney, the son of a banker, was raised in Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester, Massachusetts
Worcester is a city and the county seat of Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. Named after Worcester, England, as of the 2010 Census the city's population is 181,045, making it the second largest city in New England after Boston....

 and studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design
Rhode Island School of Design is a fine arts and design college located in Providence, Rhode Island. It was founded in 1877. Located at the base of College Hill, the RISD campus is contiguous with the Brown University campus. The two institutions share social, academic, and community resources and...

. While a student, he attended a lecture by Johnson and approached the architect afterwards, asking for a tour of the Glass House
Glass House
The Glass House or Johnson house, built in 1949 in New Canaan, Connecticut, was designed by Philip Johnson as his own residence and is a masterpiece in the use of glass. It was an important and influential project for Johnson and for modern architecture. The building is an essay in minimal...



During the early to mid-1960s Whitney had a variety of roles in the contemporary art world. Early jobs at the Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art is an art museum in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, on 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It has been important in developing and collecting modernist art, and is often identified as the most influential museum of modern art in the world...

 and several art galleries including the Green Gallery
Green Gallery
The Green Gallery was an art gallery that operated between 1960 and 1965 and was located at 15 West 57th Street in Manhattan, New York, United States. The director of the gallery was Richard Bellamy , and it was one of the first uptown galleries to show the work of the downtown New York avant-garde...

 and the Leo Castelli Gallery
Leo Castelli
Leo Castelli was an American art dealer. He was best known to the public as an art dealer whose gallery showcased cutting edge Contemporary art for five decades...

 led to him opening his own gallery in 1969. Some of the artists that exhibited at the David Whitney Gallery from September 1969 through March 1972 when the gallery closed included Neil Jenney
Neil Jenney
Neil Jenney is a self-taught artist born in 1945. He attended Massachusetts College of Art in 1964. In 1966 he moved to New York City where he currently resides....

, Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns, Jr. is an American contemporary artist who works primarily in painting and printmaking.-Life:Born in Augusta, Georgia, Jasper Johns spent his early life in Allendale, South Carolina with his paternal grandparents after his parents' marriage failed...

, Ronnie Landfield
Ronnie Landfield
Ronnie Landfield is an American abstract painter. During his early career from the mid-1960s through the 1970s his paintings were associated with Lyrical Abstraction, , and he was represented by the David Whitney Gallery and the André Emmerich Gallery.Landfield is...

, Kenneth Showell, William Pettet, and Phillip Wofford, among others. The David Whitney Gallery featured Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction
Lyrical Abstraction is either of two related but distinctly separate trends in Post-war Modernist painting, and a third definition is the usage as a descriptive term. It is a descriptive term characterizing a type of abstract painting related to Abstract Expressionism; in use since the 1940s...

, Post-minimalism and other current movements of the period

Later, he organized exhibitions at the Whitney Museum and elsewhere for well-known artists such as Cy Twombly
Cy Twombly
Edwin Parker "Cy" Twombly, Jr. was an American artist well known for his large-scale, freely scribbled, calligraphic-style graffiti paintings, on solid fields of mostly gray, tan, or off-white colors...

, Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns
Jasper Johns, Jr. is an American contemporary artist who works primarily in painting and printmaking.-Life:Born in Augusta, Georgia, Jasper Johns spent his early life in Allendale, South Carolina with his paternal grandparents after his parents' marriage failed...

, Franz Kline
Franz Kline
Franz Jozef Kline was an American painter mainly associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement centered around New York in the 1940s and 1950s. He was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and attended Girard College, an academy in Philadelphia for fatherless boys...

, Willem de Kooning
Willem de Kooning
Willem de Kooning was a Dutch American abstract expressionist artist who was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands....

 and Andy Warhol.

Later, he focused on younger artists such as Michael Heizer
Michael Heizer
Michael Heizer is a contemporary artist specializing primarily in large-scale sculptures and earth art .Heizer was born in Berkeley, California in 1944; and he attended the San Francisco Art Institute. Traveling to New York City in 1966, he began his career producing more conventional, small-scale...

, Julian Schnabel
Julian Schnabel
Julian Schnabel is an American artist and filmmaker. In the 1980s, Schnabel received international media attention for his "plate paintings"—large-scale paintings set on broken ceramic plates....

, Eric Fischl
Eric Fischl
Eric Fischl is an American painter, sculptor and printmaker.-Early life:Fischl was born in New York City and grew up on suburban Long Island; his family moved to Phoenix, Arizona in 1967...

 and David Salle
David Salle
David Salle is an American painter who helped define postmodern sensibility by combining figuration with a varied pictorial language of multi-imagery...


External links

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