1. "The blues doesn’t have to be played or sang." Chuck D reflects on the meaning of the blues on the occasion of Blues for Smoke, on view through April 28.

  2. In conjunction with Blues For Smoke, join us this Friday for Speaking the Blues, an evening of spoken word, readings, and performance inspired by the blues aesthetic. Admission is free during pay-what-you-wish!
Installation view of Blues for Smoke (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, February 7–April 28, 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

    In conjunction with Blues For Smoke, join us this Friday for Speaking the Blues, an evening of spoken word, readings, and performance inspired by the blues aesthetic. Admission is free during pay-what-you-wish!

    Installation view of Blues for Smoke (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, February 7–April 28, 2013). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins

  3. Join us this Thursday evening for Greil Marcus: Jay DeFeo and All that Jazz, as the author and critic discusses Jay DeFeo’s stylistic inventions, physical processes, and improvisational approach to materials. As Marcus argues, “in the deepest, fiercest, and most playful moments of her work, Jay DeFeo’s work was jazz,” too. Get your tickets now.
Jay DeFeo (1929–1989), Dove One, 1989. Oil on linen, 16 x 20 in. (40.6 x 50.8). Collection of Dan and Claire Carlevaro. © 2013 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Ben Blackwell



 

    Join us this Thursday evening for Greil Marcus: Jay DeFeo and All that Jazz, as the author and critic discusses Jay DeFeo’s stylistic inventions, physical processes, and improvisational approach to materials. As Marcus argues, “in the deepest, fiercest, and most playful moments of her work, Jay DeFeo’s work was jazz,” too. Get your tickets now.

    Jay DeFeo (1929–1989), Dove One, 1989. Oil on linen, 16 x 20 in. (40.6 x 50.8). Collection of Dan and Claire Carlevaro. © 2013 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photograph by Ben Blackwell

     

  4. This Wednesday, Blues for Smoke curator Bennett Simpson discusses the vitality and innovation at the core of the blues tradition as a major catalyst for experimentation within modern and contemporary art. Get your tickets now.
Jack Whitten (b. 1939), Black Table Setting (Homage to Duke Ellington), 1974. Acrylic on canvas, 72 × 60 inches. Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Purchase with funds provided by Jack Drake and Joel and Karen Piassick

    This Wednesday, Blues for Smoke curator Bennett Simpson discusses the vitality and innovation at the core of the blues tradition as a major catalyst for experimentation within modern and contemporary art. Get your tickets now.

    Jack Whitten (b. 1939), Black Table Setting (Homage to Duke Ellington), 1974. Acrylic on canvas, 72 × 60 inches. Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Purchase with funds provided by Jack Drake and Joel and Karen Piassick

  5. American guitarist Gary Clark Jr. discusses what the blues means to him as a young contemporary artist who possesses a radiating blues sensibility. Blues for Smoke is on view at the Whitney Museum through April 28.

  6. Catch our ad the next time you’re waiting to catch your train! Blues for Smoke is on view through April 28.

    Catch our ad the next time you’re waiting to catch your train! Blues for Smoke is on view through April 28.

  7. The blues is heartbeat music, it is human music.

    — Henry Rollins discusses the blues on the occasion of Blues for Smoke, on view at the Whitney through April 28.

  8. I wouldn’t say blues is about triumph—blues is about resistance.

    — Dr. Cornel West discusses the blues. Blues for Smoke is on view at the Whitney through April 28.

  9. In 1972, Alma Thomas became the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney. Her Late Night Reflections is on view now in Blues for Smoke.
Alma Thomas (1891–1978), Late Night Reflections, 1972. Acrylic on canvas, 28 ¾ x 44 inches. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA. Purchase, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University Fund for Acquisitions and bequest of Marjorie Pfeffer by exchange. Photograph by Peter Paul Geoffrion

    In 1972, Alma Thomas became the first African-American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney. Her Late Night Reflections is on view now in Blues for Smoke.

    Alma Thomas (1891–1978), Late Night Reflections, 1972. Acrylic on canvas, 28 ¾ x 44 inches. Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA. Purchase, Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University Fund for Acquisitions and bequest of Marjorie Pfeffer by exchange. Photograph by Peter Paul Geoffrion

  10. ‪Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson‬ of The Roots responds to the question, “What is the blues?” Blues for Smoke is on view at the Whitney through April 28.

  11. As a musical category blues is hard to pin down, and this show makes the job harder, which seems to be its point. It’s saying: Blues isn’t a thing; it’s a set of feelings, a state of mind, maybe a state of grace.

    — Holland Cotter of The New York Times on Blues for Smoke, on view through April 28.

  12. Blues for Smoke opens today. This highly anticipated exhibition explores the blues not simply as a musical category but as an artistic sensibility—from John Coltrane to Jean-Michel Basquiat to the television show The Wire.
Mark Morrisroe (1959–1989), Untitled, c. 1981. © The Estate of Mark Morrisroe (Ringier Collection) at Fotomuseum Winterthur

    Blues for Smoke opens today. This highly anticipated exhibition explores the blues not simply as a musical category but as an artistic sensibility—from John Coltrane to Jean-Michel Basquiat to the television show The Wire.

    Mark Morrisroe (1959–1989), Untitled, c. 1981. © The Estate of Mark Morrisroe (Ringier Collection) at Fotomuseum Winterthur

  13. Here are some photos taken during the Blues for Smoke press preview this morning. The exhibition, which explores the connection between the blues and a wide range of contemporary art, music, literature, and film, opens to the public tomorrow.

  14. In Stan Douglas’s video installation, Hors-champs, the artist prompts us to consider the network of association raised when four musicians interpret Spirits Rejoice (1965), one of the seminal compositions of 1960s free jazz by the iconoclastic American saxophonist Albert Ayler.
Hors-champs will be on view in Blues for Smoke, opening this Thursday.
Stan Douglas (b. 1960), Hors-champs, 1992.Two-channel video installation with stereo sound; 13:20 min., looped. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; fractional gift of Pamela and Richard Kramlich to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the New Art Trust. © Stan Douglas; image courtesy the artist and David Zwirner Gallery, New York

    In Stan Douglas’s video installation, Hors-champs, the artist prompts us to consider the network of association raised when four musicians interpret Spirits Rejoice (1965), one of the seminal compositions of 1960s free jazz by the iconoclastic American saxophonist Albert Ayler.

    Hors-champs will be on view in Blues for Smoke, opening this Thursday.

    Stan Douglas (b. 1960), Hors-champs, 1992.Two-channel video installation with stereo sound; 13:20 min., looped. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; fractional gift of Pamela and Richard Kramlich to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the New Art Trust. © Stan Douglas; image courtesy the artist and David Zwirner Gallery, New York

  15. Opening February 7, Blues for Smoke brings into focus a wide range of contemporary art, music, literature, and film through the lens of the blues.
Bob Thompson (1937–1966), Garden of Music, 1960. Oil on canvas 79 1/2 x 143 in. (201.93 x 363.22 cm). Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection; courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY

    Opening February 7, Blues for Smoke brings into focus a wide range of contemporary art, music, literature, and film through the lens of the blues.

    Bob Thompson (1937–1966), Garden of Music, 1960. Oil on canvas 79 1/2 x 143 in. (201.93 x 363.22 cm). Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut. The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection; courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York, NY