16 January 2023
Edward Hopper’s New York
A lecture on the exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (until 5 March 2023)
with Chris Boïcos
For Hopper New York was “the American city that I know best and like most.” It was his home for nearly six decades (1908–67), a period that spans his entire mature career. During his lifetime, the city underwent tremendous development—skyscrapers reached record-breaking heights, and an increasingly diverse population boomed—yet his depictions of New York remained human-scale and largely unpopulated. Eschewing the city’s iconic skyline and landmarks, such as the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building, Hopper instead turned his attention to its unsung utilitarian structures and out-of-the-way corners. He was drawn to the awkward collisions of new and old, civic and residential, public and private that captured the paradoxes of the changing city. Edward Hopper’s New York reveals a vision of New York that is as much a manifestation of Hopper himself as it is a record of the city around him.
Drawing from the Whitney’s extensive holdings and amplified by key loans, the exhibition brings together many of Hopper’s iconic city pictures as well as several lesser-known yet critically important paintings. By exploring the artist’s work through the lens of New York, the exhibition offers a fresh take on this formidable figure and considers the city itself as a lead actor.
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