Whitney two years select 63 artists to capture now

Even in normal times, the Whitney Biennial is a highly profitable project. The performance was a barometer—predicted and contested for the picture it proposed of American artistic trends and their public relevance. Participation can boost an artist’s career. Exhibitions sometimes become a lightning rod for political controversy.

Around this time, every two years, premieres on April 6has the burden of responding to an atmosphere of crisis, from pandemics to social protests and political strife, that has taken place since its last publication in 2019.

David Breslin, who co-organizes this edition with Adrienne Edwards, said: “The past few years have been a very dense time. they both Senior manager at the museum. “Our hope is that this show allows for a great deal of volume, a way to see what we may not be at the end but in the middle, and how art can help our times. .”

On Tuesday, the museum revealed the 63 artists and collectives Breslin and Edwards selected for the show, along with the title they’ve given it – “Quiet as it was Kept” – and their approach to the exhibition.

The list is varied, like the previous two versions, but leaning more towards the older. With only 23 artists under the age of 40 and eight artists born in the 1990s, the show is less of a mystery than a cross-generational fusion. There is a clear direction towards interdisciplinary and conceptual work. Films and shows will be incorporated into the main exhibition, not separate shows.

The show’s Doyenne, born 1947, is Puerto Rican artist and choreographer Awilda Sterling-Duprey; the youngest, born in 1995, is Andrew Roberts, a Mexican artist working in film, animation and installation, based in Tijuana and Mexico City.

Prominent names include Yto Barrada, Nayland Blake, Coco Fusco, Ellen Gallagher, Renée Green and Adam Pendleton. Five artists have passed away, including writers and conceptualists Theresa Hak Kyung Chawho was murdered in 1982.

According to Scott Rothkopf, the museum’s chief curator, the exhibition features more artists than usual, who are either participating every two years or already in the Whitney’s collection. However, he added, there will be a lot of discoveries.

The U.S.-Mexico border is an area of ​​focus, with artists from Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez. There’s also a focus on Indigenous artists, extending to First Nations in Canada and including Rebecca Belmore, Raven Chacon, Duane Linklater and Dyani White Hawk.

In a phone interview with both curators, Edwards said that there was “no doubt” the program had a place – it sought to complicate the ways in which social identity and experience individuals are exhibited and valued in today’s art world. “There are a lot of requirements around a certain level of legibility,” says Edwards. “We wanted to go back and say, there are artists who are doing these things differently, through abstract or conceptual art.”

They envisioned from the very beginning an intergenerational exhibition. “We wanted to show a vein, a pedigree, through some ideas that we felt were circulating,” Breslin said. “This is an opportunity to see how ideas are deepened, transformed, and absorbed in a new way.”

The staging will be innovative, with one main floor being a quasi-open “gap” with expansive views, and the other a dark, maze-like “containment space”. “It’s a speculative display in a time of uncertainty,” Breslin said. “The way it’s presented and felt is just as important as anything else.”

The pandemic poses more of a challenge than it is conceptually. Breslin and Edwards barely embarked on an ambitious journey to meet the artists in their studios and communities – the most intimate and organic part of the process – when the tour shut down in March. 2020. They ended up primarily managing Zoom. The show has been postponed from its early days in 2021 until this year.

In phone interviews, several biennial artists described the work they would present and the experiences they prepared for under unusual circumstances.

Some of the work has been spurred at least in part by the pandemic. Fusco – a veteran of two seasons in 1993 and 2008 – showing a movie about Hart Island, where New York City is located Unclaimed dead are buried. She filmed from a boat, using a drone – access to the island is limited – in the summer of 2020. Some of the early victims of the pandemic were buried there, Fusco said, recalling memories from the AIDS crisis. “So I did a piece about graves and dead people,” she said.

Roberts, the Mexican artist, has contracted Covid-19 twice – the first time a severe case that kept him from concentrating for months. Eventually, he wrote a series of poems; In his video settings, they are read by zombie avatars – voiced by actors – who he says “work for future corporations, shape class consciousness and perceive about the violence inflicted on them”.

Because Woody De Othello, who lives in Oakland and makes ceramic and bronze sculptures out of oversized, distorted household items – phones, faucets, space heaters – locking the doors only deepens the theme his. “The energy of being at home is in my work,” he says. “A lot of the objects that I create come from a local area.” Working alone in the studio, emerging to go hiking with her dog, resulted in “confronting myself and thinking about intentions.”

Many projects predate current events. Father and son, a composer – he joined in 2017 as a member of the Postcommodity collective – is delivering works that are the result of 20 years of research into sound. These include graphic scores dedicated to Indigenous women composers, which will be performed, and audio recordings of the silent confrontation between Indigenous women and police during the Standing Rock protests. His installation video, filmed on the Navajo, Cherokee and Seminole lands, features women singing in those languages ​​stories about locations where massacres or displacements took place – areas currently in dispute again, for mining or other uses.

During a protest following the killing of George Floyd in 2020, Chacon joined actions to topple a statue of a conqueror in Albuquerque, NM; one of his friends is shot by a militia member. “We’ve been through a lot,” said Chacon, adding that he hopes the tough times have encouraged artists to “try different tactics to create work.”

That bent experimentation, past and present, is common in a performance that Edwards has described as a “collective” – ​​not only in terms of identity perspectives, but also in methods.

Artist lives in Los Angeles Na Mira, whose video and hologram installation is based on research in Korea on Taoism, feminism and her family history, said she expected scope in the show. “I truly believe that art is an epistemology: that we learn things through this subject that we cannot learn anywhere else,” says Mira. “It will be interesting to feel the difference, how they intertwine and rub against each other.”

Rose Salane, an artist who grew up in Queens who explores urban life through leftover everyday objects, is presenting a project involving the screening of 64,000 “slugs” – laundry tokens, counterfeit coins and other objects that the MTA takes from bus ticket machines. She is also eager to experience the work of her peers. “The last two years have put pressure on everyone,” Salane said. “To see persistent work through that is pretty tough.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/25/arts/design/whitney-biennial.html Whitney two years select 63 artists to capture now

Fry Electronics Team

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