Installation view, Robert Whitman: 61, Pace Gallery, New York, Oct 26 – Dec 21, 2018 © Robert Whitman

Robert Whitman



b. 1935, New York
d. 2024, New York

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Robert Whitman was a leading figure in New York’s Happenings movement from the late 1950s through the early 60s.

A pioneer of performance art and multimedia installation, he co-founded Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), a nonprofit organization dedicated to collaboration between artists and engineers. Throughout his career, Whitman aspired to transform and transcend the limitations of images by emphasizing their spatial, temporal, and dimensional qualities.

Whitman received his first solo exhibition at the Rutgers affiliated gallery, Art House, in 1958, and debuted his pioneering Constructions at Hansa Gallery, New York, in 1959. He has composed and produced over forty performance works, nine of which, spanning from 1976 to 1983, were created in conjunction with Dia Art Foundation. Whitman’s work is held in numerous collections worldwide, including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Dia Art Foundation, New York; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among others.


Robert Whitman, Untitled, 1959, wooden door, metal, rubber tubing, and plastic sheeting, 75-3/4" x 60-1/2" x 24" (192.4 cm x 153.7 cm x 61 cm) © Robert Whitman


Robert Whitman, Untitled (shirts and clouds), 1994-95, mixed media, installation dimensions variable © Robert Whitman