Who: Steve McQueen and Donna De Salvo, Harry Belafonte and Dr. Cornel West
What: Two public programs in conjunction with the exhibition “Open Plan: Steve McQueen”
Where: Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort St., 212-570-3600
When: Friday, April 29, Steve McQueen in Conversation with Donna De Salvo, $15, 6:30; Sunday, May 1, Harry Belafonte and Dr. Cornel West Discuss Paul Robeson, $20, 5:00
Why: The Whitney’s five-part “Open Plan” series, which previously featured installations by Andrea Fraser, Lucy Dodd, Michael Heizer, and Cecil Taylor, concludes with a project by visual artist Steve McQueen that expands on his 2012 work, “End Credits,” an exploration of the FBI’s investigation into the political activities of actor, singer, athlete, lawyer, and civil rights activist Paul Robeson. McQueen, who began his career as an experimental short filmmaker (his 2004 exhibition at the Davis Museum at Wellesley College was an eye opener), wrote and directed Hunger and Shame before directing 2013’s 12 Years a Slave, which won the Best Picture Oscar. In conjunction with the multimedia show, the Whitney will be hosting two talks. On April 29, McQueen will discuss his career with senior curator Donna De Salvo, who organized the show with curatorial assistant Christie Mitchell. And on May 1 — not coincidentally May Day — actor, singer, songwriter, and activist Harry Belafonte and philosopher, professor, author, activist, and self-described “prominent and provocative democratic intellectual” Dr. Cornel West will team up to explore Robeson’s life and legacy. End Credits will be on view in the expansive Neil Bluhm Family Galleries through May 14; in addition, the Whitney is presenting the U.S. debut of McQueen’s “Moonlit” sculpture in the adjacent Kaufman Gallery.