Hop To It: The Whitney Has Plenty To See This Holiday Season

-By Angela Monntefinise

I started working at the Whitney Museum of American Art in July. It was an absolute dream come true for a kid from Queens whose love of art began 34 years earlier on a second grade class trip to the Whitney’s former location on the Upper East Side. 

It was on that trip that I first laid eyes on Edward Hopper’s “Early Sunday Morning.” Before viewing that painting, I had never thought much about fine art. It just wasn’t a part of my world. But there was something about that Hopper. It was like a lightning strike. It immediately made me think about who lived in the buildings depicted. Why did some put up shades and some didn’t? Where was everyone? What did my street look like while everyone was still sleeping on Sunday morning? I still remember like it was yesterday the way the docent explained that Hopper purposely blurred out any identifying addresses or street signs so the street both looked familiar but could be anywhere. 

Edward Hopper, Early Sunday Morning, 1930. Oil on canvas, 35 3/16 × 60 1/4 in. (89.4 × 153 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney 31.426

© 2022 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper/Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

That visit to the Whitney sparked a love affair with art that has only grown stronger. I continued to visit art museums in New York City throughout my adult life. I became a member of the Whitney, and have taken my two young children to its Meatpacking District location since before they could walk. It was the first place my now eight-year-old daughter was ever inspired to sit down on the floor and start drawing. There is something about the Whitney—with its commitment to not just contemporary art but the artists themselves—that is just so inspiring.

Edward Hopper, Queensborough Bridge, 1913. Oil on canvas, 25 7/8 × 38 1/8 in. (65.7 × 96.8 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.1184.

© 2022 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper/Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

After spending 10 years in journalism and nearly 13 at The New York Public Library (another wonderful NYC institution), it is my honor to now work at the Whitney, spreading the word about a place that is pure magic. When WestView News offered me and my colleagues the opportunity to write about the Museum for the incredible community we are part of, we excitedly jumped at the chance.

Edward Hopper, Manhattan Bridge, 1925–26. Watercolor and graphite pencil on paper, 13 15/16 × 19 15/16 in. (35.4 × 50.6 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Josephine N. Hopper Bequest 70.1098

© 2022 Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper/Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

This holiday season there is so much to see at what I hope is your favorite neighborhood museum, including Edward Hopper’s New York, the first-ever exploration of Hopper’s relationship to the city he called home for decades (he lived and created in Greenwich Village just blocks from the Whitney’s current location, in the heart of WestView territory). The show includes over 200 Hopper artworks—from rarely seen drawings to iconic paintings—as well as never-before-seen personal artifacts from the Whitney’s Sanborn Hopper Archive. 

It is an incredible show, and how appropriate that it’s the first one that opened during my tenure at the Whitney. It feels meant to be. 

In addition to Hopper, the Whitney is presenting no existe un mundo poshuracán: Puerto Rican Art in the Wake of Hurricane Maria, the first survey of Puerto Rican art at a major art museum in 50 years, as well as highlights from our permanent collection, the incredible video installation Two Lizards, and more. We also offer art-related programming every weekend for kids and teens. Admission for kids and teens is always free at the Whitney!

Angela Momntefinise at The Whitney in front of Edward Hoppers “Early Sunday Morning’ the painting that has insipred her love of art since she was a child. 

Photo: Angela Momntefinise

 

I certainly hope you’ll walk over and visit us (and maybe even consider membership: three visits in a year and it has paid for itself. Makes a good gift, too). 

As for me, my colleagues and I look forward to sharing a behind-the-scenes look at the Whitney over the next few months. For example: on my desk on the fourth floor of the Museum is a framed postcard of Hopper’s Early Sunday Morning. It’s the exact postcard I purchased on that second grade class trip in 1988 with the $5 my mom gave me for a volunteer. I kept it all these years, and now it serves as inspiration as I work alongside brilliant colleagues to ensure all visitors find the painting that inspires them. 

Which piece of art will it be for you? 

Angela Montefinise is the Chief Communications & Content Officer at The Whitney Museum of American Art, whitney.org. She can be reached at 

angela_montefinise@whitney.org

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