Wednesday, January 31, 2024 – Today the Buffalo AKG Art Museum announced it has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for a Grants for Arts Projects award of $50,000. This grant will support Stanley Whitney: How High the Moon, the first retrospective exhibition to trace the evolution of artist Stanley Whitney’s wholly unique and powerful abstractions over the course of his fifty-year career. In total, the NEA will award 958 Grants for Arts Projects awards totaling more than $27.1 million that were announced as part of its first round of fiscal year 2024 grants.
“The NEA is delighted to announce this grant to the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, which is helping contribute to the strength and well-being of the arts sector and local community,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chair Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD. “We are pleased to be able to support this community and help create an environment where all people have the opportunity to live artful lives.”
“Stanley Whitney’s lifelong exploration of color has created an oeuvre of stunning inventiveness and rigor that evokes deep human emotion, beauty, and hope,” said Cathleen Chaffee, Charles Balbach Chief Curator of the Buffalo AKG. “It has been one of the great honors of my career to work with Whitney on this, his long-overdue first retrospective. How High the Moon constitutes a historic moment not just for Whitney but also for the Buffalo AKG, and we are thrilled to have the support of the National Endowment for the Arts in this important endeavor.”
About the Exhibition
Stanley Whitney: How High the Moon surveys Whitney’s extensive, career-spanning investigation of color. The exhibition features large canvases from throughout the artist’s career, including early gestural works such as Untitled, 1972, and his first large-scale oil paintings, including Sixteen Songs, 1984. In works such as Untitled, 1992, Whitney began grounding rounded forms of color in his paintings within a loose grid. Around 2002, this structure led Whitney to begin making the paintings for which he is best known today: square, richly colored, gridded abstractions, including Undestructable Hymn, 2001; James Brown Sacrifices to Apollo, 2008; Elephant Memory, 2014; and Stay Song 66, 2019. Endless Time, 2017, a painting from this later period that the Buffalo AKG acquired in 2017, will also be on view.
Whitney’s major paintings from 1972 to 2023 will be accompanied by extensive installations of the artist’s improvisatory small paintings; his drawings and prints, which constitute a vital, often overlooked element of his practice; and a chronological selection of the artist’s sketchbooks spanning from 1987 to 2021, which offer a view into his engagement with the written word as well as contemporary social and political issues. The exhibition contextualizes his work within the artist’s diverse sources of inspiration, including music, poetry, American quilts, and the history of art and architecture.
For more information on other projects included in the NEA’s grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
About the Buffalo AKG Art Museum
Founded in 1862, the Buffalo AKG Art Museum (formerly the Albright-Knox Art Gallery) is the sixth-oldest public art institution in the United States. For more than 160 years, the Buffalo AKG has collected, conserved, and exhibited the art of its time, often working directly with living artists. This tradition has given rise to one of the world’s most extraordinary collections of modern and contemporary art.
In summer 2023, following the completion of the most significant campus development and expansion project in its history, the Buffalo AKG opened anew to the public. The project is funded by a $230 million capital campaign, the largest such campaign for a cultural institution in the history of Western New York, including $195 million raised for construction and $35 million in additional operating endowment funds.