Sunday, August 18, 2013
"I, You, We" at the Whitney Museum displays art from the 1980s and the early 1990s reflecting the period's cultural and social turmoil, especially as it affected New York City. Paintings, posters, photos and sculptures portray the age of Reagan and growing economic inequality, the city's gentrification and displacement of longtime residents (see Anton van Dalen's "Luxury City," 1986, above) the AIDS crisis and identity politics. This was a period when activist art collectives placed posters throughout the city reflecting their concerns. On poster, "SOS Tompkins Square Park," is an artifact of the August 1988 riots following a curfew imposed in that East Village park. A series, "We Are Not Afraid" (1981), was ubiquitous throughout the subway system during a period of high crime. Photos reflecting the AIDS epidemic are particularly wrenching. "I, You, We" reminds us of upheavals that took place not long ago and the creative response they inspired.
“I, You, We” runs through September 1 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue, at 75th Street, NYC; (212) 570-3600; whitney.org.