In 1958, the late artist Jay DeFeo went to work on a new project guided only by, what she called, “an idea that had a center to it.” Eight years and 2,300 pounds later, her enormous painting The Rose, one of her most famous works, was finished. After being forklifted out of her San Francisco studio through the window of her building, the work was shown only a few times until it was left hidden behind a wall at the San Francisco Art Institute for more than two decades. Now The Rose blooms once again in this retrospective that should shed new light on this important figure of the Beat generation who drew much of her inspiration from abstract expressionism, the geometry of Italian architecture, and Asian, African, and prehistoric art. For this show, the Whitney has brought together four decades’ worth of her collages, drawings, paintings, photos, sculptures, and jewelry, many of which have never before been exhibited.

Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 11 a.m.; Fridays, 1 p.m. Starts: Feb. 28. Continues through June 2, 2013