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Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself
May 1–October 4, 2021

Performance Series


Dave McKenzie (b. 1977) prompts observers to reconsider seemingly familiar feelings, settings, and actions. This focused exhibition presents McKenzie’s performances for the camera and documentation of his live art alongside pieces drawn from the Whitney’s collection by artists who have informed the concepts, gestures, and sensibilities in his work. The juxtaposition of McKenzie's art with that of Trisha Brown, Chris Burden, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Gordon Matta-Clark, Bruce Nauman, and Pope.L connects these artists' shared awareness of a voyeuristic audience, the incorporation of architecture, risk-taking, and the emphasis on public intervention.

Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself runs parallel to the new, Whitney-commissioned performance Disturbing the View, in which McKenzie uses the Museum's facade as a canvas in a choreographed disruption of its daily rhythms. Together the exhibition and performance commission span twenty years of McKenzie’s creative output and reflect key themes of his art: endurance, exhaustion, repetition, and humor. Illuminating the seriousness of play in artmaking, McKenzie engages with and questions ideas, images, and language using his principal tool—his own body. Disturbing the View will take place from May 1 through June 12, 2021, on Friday and Saturday afternoons beginning at 1 pm.

Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself is curated by Adrienne Edwards, the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Curator of Performance, with Mia Matthias, curatorial assistant.

Dave McKenzie: The Story I Tell Myself is supported by generous funds provided by Kevin and Rosemary McNeely, Manitou Fund and by a major endowment from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, which supports Outside the Box programming at the Whitney Museum. 


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Audio Guides

A grainy still of a man outside a supermarket with a shopping cart in view

Hear directly from the artist on selected works from the exhibition.

View synchronized captions or listen to a work's audio stream.



A 30-second online art project:
LaTurbo Avedon, Morning Mirror / Evening Mirror

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Face coverings are still required, even for vaccinated visitors. Learn more about the Whitney’s safety guidelines.