Beginning on May 14, the Whitney Museum of American Art is set to launch its first-ever podcast, Artists Among Us, which narrows in on American art and culture. The first five episodes will expand upon David Hammons’ permanent public sculpture, Days End (2021). The five-episode series will be hosted by influential artist and photographer, Carrie Mae Weems as it features both expected and unexpected voices that not only explore the work of Hammons but also pay tribute to Gordon Matta-Clark and his visionary sculpture, Days End (1975). The podcast will further delve into the many histories and changing landscapes of the Hudson River waterfront and New York’s Meatpacking District.
“Day’s End doesn’t have any one story to tell, any single history that it celebrates,” Weems said. “It’s an absence, a frame of a building that no longer exists. But it’s so rooted in its site at the meeting point of the city and the river that we might also see that absence as an opening—a space for the many absences and invisible histories of this place to speak.”
Along with Weems, who is the primary host, contributing voices include Jane Crawford, Tom Finkelpearl, Bill T. Jones, Kellie Jones, Glenn Ligon, Alan Michelson, Florent Morellet, Luc Sante, Adam D. Weinberg, and others.
Hammons’ Days End is located in Hudson River Park along the southern edge of Gansevoort Peninsula which is directly across from the Whitney Museum. The sculpture is inspired by Matta-Clark’s artwork of the same name which was created nearly 50 years prior. In the original, Matta-Clark cut five openings into the Pier 52 shed, which inspired Hammons to create an open sculpture that follows the outlines, dimensions, and location of the original shed.
“Hammons’ sculpture is so simple in its outlines but so rich in its meanings and in the stories it evokes,” Anne Byrd, director of interpretation and research at the Whitney, said. “It seemed like the perfect subject for the Whitney’s first podcast.”
Following the debut of the first episode on May 14, subsequent episodes will be released weekly. Artists Among Us will be available for streaming on major podcast services, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, as well as whitney.org.
Check out the featured episodes:
Episode 1: The Dawn of Day’s End
Release Date: May 14, 2021
Our inaugural episode introduces David Hammons’s Day’s End (2021). As we discuss the project’s origins and site-specific nature, the layered social and cultural histories of the site begin to unfold. Featured voices in Episode 1 include executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation Andrew Berman; author and former commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl; choreographer and artistic director of New York Live Arts Bill T. Jones; art historian and Columbia University professor Kellie Jones; artist Glenn Ligon; structural engineer Guy Nordenson; writer Luc Sante; architect and landscape architect Catherine Seavitt; and Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum Adam D. Weinberg.
Episode 2: A Cathedral of Light on the Hudson River
Release Date: May 21, 2021
How did the artist Gordon Matta-Clark transform a dilapidated shipping pier into a “cathedral of light”? In this episode, we trace the decline of Manhattan’s formerly flourishing meat markets and waterfront industries. Amid the decay, Matta-Clark spotted the potential for beauty. Featured voices in Episode 2 include director of the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark Jane Crawford; curator and co-director of the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark Jessamyn Fiore; director of Riverkeeper Paul Gallay; New York University professor of media studies Laura Harris; owner of J.T. Jobaggy Meat Company John Jobaggy, artist Alan Michelson; activist and Meatpacking District restaurateur Florent Morellet; writer and ecologist Eric Sanderson; BOMB magazine co-founder Betsy Sussler; and writer Jonathan Weinberg, among others.
Episode 3: Latex and Lard in the Meatpacking District
Release Date: May 28, 2021
A vibrant Queer community inhabited Manhattan’s Meatpacking District when Gordon Matta-Clark created a sculpture by carving into Pier 52 on the Hudson River. This episode recalls a golden age when sex, art, and creativity converged on the waterfront in the years prior to the AIDS crisis in New York City. Featured voices in Episode 3 include an archival recording of artist Alvin Baltrop; filmmaker Elegance Bratton; photographer Efrain Gonzalez; activist Egyptt Labeija; activist and founding member of FIERCE Stefanie Rivera; and trustee of the Alvin Baltrop Trust Randal Wilcox, among others.
Episode 4: Coastline Cultures: The Evolution of Manhattan’s Waterfront
Release Date: June 4, 2021
Anchored in the Gansevoort Peninsula and reaching out into the Hudson River, Day’s End (2021) was designed to be permanent. But for hundreds of years, the site has been in constant flux. In this episode, architects, environmentalists, Lenape elders, and artists inform some of the ways in which the many people connected to this place endeavor to keep it alive. Featured voices in Episode 4 include executive director of the Billion Oyster Project Pete Malinowski; ecologist Bernice Rosenzweig; ecologist and author Eric Sanderson; First Nation artist and activist George Stonefish; and co-founder and co-director of the Lenape Center in New York City Curtis Zunigha, among others.
Episode 5: Making the Ghost Visible
Release Date: June 11, 2021
Is Day’s End (2021) an anti-monument for our time? In this episode, we return to the sculpture itself: how it makes meaning, how it fits into the surrounding environment, and what public art tells us about freedom and power. Featured voices in Episode 5 include Andrew Berman, Tom Finkelpearl, John Jobaggy, Kellie Jones, Glenn Ligon, Guy Nordenson, Bernice Rosenzweig, Catherine Seavitt, Adam D. Weinberg, and Columbia University professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation Mabel O. Wilson.
To learn more about Artists Among Us or to hear the season trailer, click here.