The Whitney Museum, circa 2007 (via

Gallerist NY got a hold of a leaked version of the 2012 Whitney Biennial artist list and they’ve posted it online. The Whitney Biennial is the American-ish art exhibition that everyone loves to hate. No one really does a good job curating it but who cares, it’s infested with art world gossip and it’s one of the only times that art enters the mainstream cultural dialogue in New York.

Back to the list … there’s no big surprises here. Sure Werner Herzog seems a strange addition but even stranger is Georgia Sagri, whose failed (and bizarre) Artists Space occupation doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in the choice. Does she plan to Occupy Whitney? Then again, Sagri has been an established artist for a while and her monologue at Socrates Sculpture Park this summer sounded intriguing and considering she was able to take a good tongue lashing by Ann Liv Young last year at PS1 she probably deserves the spot.

Judging by their picks, the Whitney curators (Elisabeth Sussman and Jay Sanders) seem interested in blurring the boundaries of visual art, music, film and culture (for instance, rock band Red Krayola, musicians Alicia Hall Moran and Jason Moran, choreographer Sarah Michelson and filmmaker Werner Herzog are all included) and while I’m all for breaking down divisions it’s not yet clear where they are going for with their choices, if this indeed is their official selection.

I will mention a few artists/collaborations that excite me on the (as yet unconfirmed) list:

  • LaToya Ruby Frazier, interesting photographer who is still finding her artistic footing IMHO but seems to have a lot to say
  • Forrest Bess (by Robert Gober), considering Bess was a pseudo-hermaphrodite and Gober loves to grapple with gender this sounds like it could be interesting
  • Elaine Reichek, who incorporates embroidery in her work that always makes me think
  • Dawn Kasper, whose performance art is visceral and bold
  • Werner Herzog, I really hope his contribution to the Whitney Biennial is the audio tour (

From what I can see there are no new finds on the list, they are mostly known quantities.

UPDATE: The Whitney has emailed out their official 2012 Biennial list. Here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Kai Althoff, Thom Andersen, Charles Atlas, Lutz Bacher, Forrest Bess (paintings selected by artist Robert Gober), Michael Clark, Dennis Cooper and Gisèle Vienne, Cameron Crawford, Moyra Davey, Liz Deschenes, Nathaniel Dorsky, Nicole Eisenman, Kevin Jerome Everson, Vincent Fecteau, Andrea Fraser, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Vincent Gallo, K8 Hardy, Richard Hawkins, Werner Herzog, Jerome Hiler, Matt Hoyt, Dawn Kasper, Mike Kelley, John Kelsey, John Knight, Jutta Koether, George Kuchar, Laida Lertxundi, Kate Levant, Sam Lewitt, Joanna Malinowska, Andrew Masullo, Nick Mauss, Richard Maxwell, Sarah Michelson, Alicia Hall Moran and Jason Moran, Laura Poitras, Matt Porterfield, Luther Price, Lucy Raven, The Red Krayola, Kelly Reichardt, Elaine Reichek, Michael Robinson, Georgia Sagri, Michael E. Smith, Tom Thayer, Wu Tsang, Oscar Tuazon, and Frederick Wiseman.

The Latest

Avatar photo

Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

5 replies on “The Leaked 2012 Whitney Biennial List [UPDATED]”

  1. This list looks seriously boring, like worrisome boring. Though, the one bright spot is the possibility of something wildly fucked up from Dennis Cooper.

Comments are closed.