Art Fag City at The L Magazine: The Whitney Biennial, It’s Good

by Art Fag City on March 5, 2010 · 1 comment The L Magazine


Piotr Uklanski (left), Untitled (Red Dwarf), 2010, Resin on fiberglass and aluminum, Piotr Uklanski (back wall), Untitled (The Year We Make Contact), 2010, Jute, hemp, macrame, and pigment

My Whitney Biennial review is on the front page of the L Magazine today. The teaser below:

Everyone likes their homework done for them. In theory, this is the appeal of the Whitney Biennial: curators travel the country to seek out the best art produced in America and all we have to do is decide if we like the results. The problem with this, from a curatorial standpoint though, is that this isn’t much of a selection criterion for a show. Even if curators Francesco Bonami and Gary Carrion-Murayari manage to secure the strongest work, it’s impossible to predict how it will function aesthetically once together, what themes will run throughout the show, and whether that will translate into a larger cohesiveness audiences can consume. In short, the outcome of any biennial is two parts skill, and one-part luck.

This year, the stars finally aligned for The Whitney: this biennial is good. Spread over just three floors of the museum—the number of artists this year was reduced from 81 in 2008 to 55—the exhibition succeeds at least in part because it doesn’t place impossible demands upon its viewers. Art made in America may be the theme of every biennial, but this one’s organized well enough to make that clearly visible. Italian-born Francesco Bonami’s unique vision of American identity probably didn’t hurt—I can’t count the number of times I heard him describe the country in press previews.

To read the full piece here.

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