For the longest time, one visited the Whitney Museum’s online collection database with a certain amount of sadness, since images of only 700 works were available. A search for even a well-collected luminary like Mike Kelley, for instance, returned only one piece. But now the museum announced today that it has vastly expanded its online database, by a factor of 300, to some 21,000 works. It is amazing, and I wish that I could spend the rest of the day clicking through it. (Kelley now has 25 works represented.)Since the museum is closed to the public, pending the opening of its new building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District in May, the online reserve is even more of a pleasure, and the Whitney notes in its news release that it will open with a hanging of its permanent collection that will fill in excess of 60,000 square feet of exhibition space, inside and outside of the Renzo Piano–designed structure.For the past half-hour I’ve just been typing in artists names, and the database is revealing all sorts of things that I didn’t know, or forgot, that the museum owns, like:— This heartrending 1994 Hugh Steers,
— Four Martin Wongs (two fairly well-known paintings plus an etching and a screenprint),
— Three Lee Lozano drawings,
— Two Michele Abeles photographs,
— 12 works by Peter Saul, including this insane lithograph of Angela Davis,
— and this delightful Bob Thompson drawing.Naturally, Edward Hopper represents a massive portion of the database, since his widow Josephine Hopper donated a massive trove of works to the Whitney after his death. He now has 3,154 pieces viewable online.