It is always worth going to the Whitney Biennial but this one is particularly important because it is the last time that the Biennial will take place in the current location. Two years from now the Whitney will be downtown at the base where the Highline begins off Gansevoort Street. It is a bold move and a great move.
What is so amazing about the Whitney is how true they have been to their mission. The museum has been an advocate and collector of living American artists from the very start. The first Whitney museum was located in Greenwich village so coming back downtown is in many ways a return to its roots. Taking a tour of their archives hidden in the bowels of the museum when they pack up is going to be a curators dream come true.
This particular exhibit is curated by three separate people. We started on the fourth floor. It was curated by Michelle Grabner. I found most of the work up there politically and racially motivated. It was actually my favorite floor. This piece was by Sheila Hicks. I just loved the beauty of all those yarns drapped from the ceiling.
This piece is from Ken Lum. Fictitious Vietnamese owned stores that represent the signage in shopping malls near the artists home in South Philadelphia. Each of the names are associated with the Vietnam War.
This piece and the one below were my favorites in the entire show. Dawoud Bey. He began to visit Birmingham Alabama regularly and the history of a day in 1963 where six young African Americans were killed in civil rights acts of violence. These diptychs represent portraits of young people who were the same age as the person killed that day and pictures of adults at the ages they would have been in 2012.
The third floor was curated by Stuart Comer. It is defining contemporary America today based on gender identifies, technology shifts and migration. The curator let each artist almost curate their own space/room. Lots of out there stuff. This was my favorite piece. I knew it had to do with technology. Channa Horowitz who was actually off the grid was an artist as she lived in relative isolation. She had been doing these pieces around grid formation since the 1960's and was finally discovered.
Glad I went. Lots of work from Los Angeles artist which is worth noting. The Bey pieces are still rambling around my brain.