When visitors enter the easternmost gallery on the seventh floor of the new Whitney Museum of American Art, the first thing they’ll see is The Seasons, a giant, almost 8-foot-wide oil painting by Lee Krasner. On the opposite wall is a much smaller painting by Krasner’s husband, Jackson Pollock. “The privileged view, if you will, is that of the painting by Krasner,” says Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s chief curator.
For decades, emphasizing Krasner over Pollock would have been unthinkable. But in America Is Hard to See, the sweeping inaugural exhibition of the Whitney’s new building, Krasner and hundreds of other women artists are being highlighted as part of the museum’s ongoing effort to challenge 20th century art history’s male-dominated storyline.
“We’re not putting these artists in the narrative purely out of some sense of obligation,”