David Whitney (1939 – June 12, 2005) was an American art curator, collector, gallerist and critic. He led a very private life and was not well known outside the art world, even though he participated naked in the 1965 Claes Oldenburg happening Washes. He was the life partner of architect Philip Johnson (1906–2005) for 45 years until their deaths five months apart. He was also a close friend of Andy Warhol.
Whitney, the son of a banker, was raised in Worcester, Massachusetts and studied architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, graduating with a BFA in Interior Architecture in 1963. While a student, he attended a lecture by Johnson and approached the architect afterwards, asking for a tour of the Glass House.
During the early to mid-1960s Whitney had a variety of roles in the contemporary art world. Early jobs at the Museum of Modern Art and several art galleries, including the Green Gallery and the Leo Castelli Gallery, led to him opening his own gallery in 1969. Some of the artists that exhibited at the David Whitney Gallery from September 1969 through March 1972 (when the gallery closed) included Neil Jenney, Jasper Johns, Ronnie Landfield, Ken Price, Lewis Stein, Gary Stephan. The David Whitney Gallery featured Lyrical Abstraction, Post-minimalism and other current movements of the period
After his gallery years, he organized exhibitions at the Whitney Museum and elsewhere for Cy Twombly, Jasper Johns, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and Andy Warhol. Whitney was also an early member of the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board.
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