The Whitney, in collaboration with the Hudson River Park Trust, is developing a permanent public art project by David Hammons (b. 1943) that will be located in Hudson River Park along the southern edge of Gansevoort Peninsula, directly across from the Museum.
Day’s End, proposed to the Whitney by Hammons, takes inspiration from Gordon Matta-Clark's 1975 artwork of the same name. Matta-Clark cut five openings into the Pier 52 shed that formerly occupied the site. Hammons’s artwork will be an open structure that precisely follows the outlines, dimensions, and location of the original shed—and like Matta-Clark's work, it will offer an extraordinary place to experience the waterfront. Affixed to the shore on the south edge of Gansevoort Peninsula, the structure will extend over the water, employing the thinnest possible support system. Hammons's work will appear evanescent and ethereal, seeming to shimmer and almost disappear, changing with the light of day and atmospheric conditions. It will also allude to the history of New York’s waterfront—from the heyday of its shipping industry to the reclaimed piers that became a gathering place for the gay community.
In the lead-up to the unveiling of the sculpture, the Whitney will present Around Day’s End: Downtown New York, 1970–1986, opening in July 2020. The exhibition features works from its collection that relate to Matta-Clark’s seminal project which inspired Hammons. In tandem with the realization of the project, the Whitney is creating rich interpretive materials, including the Museum’s first podcast series, as well as videos and neighborhood walking tours. These will take Hammons’s Day’s End (2020) and Matta-Clark’s Day’s End (1975) as jumping-off points for exploring the history of the waterfront and the Meatpacking District, the role of artists in the neighborhood, its LGBTQ history, and the ecology of the estuary. New research, archival materials, and oral history interviews will all be incorporated.