The 2017 Whitney Biennial, the institution’s first since its move to the Meatpacking District, opens to the public later this week, but already the buzz is positive. Gathering works by a modest 63 artists on the museum’s vast fifth and sixth floors (along with installations in conference rooms, terraces, the lobby, stairwell, and off-site at the Lower Manhattan Arts Academy), the exhibition feels much, much less daunting than recent Biennials held in the Breuer building, which often seemed overstuffed and cramped. Credit is largely due to co-curators Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks, who give the work (and visitors) room to breathe and, for the most part, have given participating artists their own alcoves, galleries, or space for large-scale installations. This Whitney Biennial feels airy, which is a first in recent memory.
But it’s also saturated with recurring themes and formal motifs. At Monday’s preview, some of the most immediately apparent trends included an exceptionally strong showing by the Biennial’s painters (including Carrie Moyer and Aliza Nisenbaum) and a relative plethora of works dealing with social justice and institutional critique (including Cameron Rowland and the Occupy Museums collective). There are eye-popping installations (by Samara Golden, Raúl de Nieves, and Ajay Kurian), transporting video works (by Anicka Yi and the Postcommodity collective, among others), and works that channel the current socio-political climate of frustration and outrage (including by Henry Taylor, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, and An-My Lê). Though we’ll have a proper review in time for the public opening, here’s a taste of what’s in store at the 2017 Whitney Biennial.
The Project of Independence at MoMA probes the limits of modernist construction in South Asia.
The newly opened Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture — also known as “The Cheech” — celebrates, spotlights, and complicates representations of Chicano art.
Convened by Erika Sprey, Lamin Fofana, Sky Hopinka, Emmy Catedral, and Manuela Moscoso, the public program unfolds this summer at CARA in New York City.
The Detroit-based artist draws from her Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish, and African American roots to create a dazzling new ornamental language.
Stuffed with references to historical and contemporary film, Olivier Assayas’s miniseries version of his own 1996 film Irma Vep is sometimes too clever for its own good.
The Bay Area art book fair is back this July with free programming at three different on-site venues, new exhibitors, and fundraising editions from renowned artists.
The authenticity of the works, whose owners say Basquiat sold to Hollywood screenwriter Thaddeus Mumford in 1982, has been heavily scrutinized.
The Utah site has been subject to longstanding contention over federal lands management.
Shows at the Hudson Valley’s Hessel Museum of Art feature artists Dara Birnbaum and Martine Syms, as well as new scholarship on Black melancholia as an artistic and critical practice.
At a time when many Black artists turned to figuration, Gilliam harnessed the power of abstraction, freeing the canvas from its support.
The artist’s portrait of her mother, painted in 1977 and reproduced on the vaporetti of Venice, may be one of the most evocative artworks in the Biennale.
A new box set of four of the Iranian director’s features offers a great opportunity to get to know his singular style.