NEW YORK, NY.-
Sculpture, painting, installations, and photographyas well as dance, theater, music, and filmfill the galleries of the Whitney Museum of American Art
in the latest edition of the Whitney Biennial. With a roster of artists at all points in their careersyounger and older emerging artists, others at midcareer, and some who are well-establishedthe Biennial provides a look at the current state of contemporary art in America. This is the seventy-sixth in the ongoing series of Biennials and Annuals presented by the Whitney since 1932, two years after the Museum was founded.
The 2012 Biennial takes over most of the Whitney from March 1 through May 27, with portions of the exhibition and some programs continuing through June 10. The participating artists were selected by Elisabeth Sussman, Curator/Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at the Whitney, and Jay Sanders, a freelance curator and writer who has spent the past ten years working both in the gallery world and on independent curatorial projects. The process of researching and planning for the show began in early December 2010. Sussman and Sanders co-curated the Biennials film program with Thomas Beard and Ed Halter, the co-founders of Light Industry, a venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn.
The Whitneys fourth-floor Emily Fisher Landau Galleries have become a dynamic 6,000-square foot performance space for music, dance, theater, and other events. This is the first Whitney Biennial in which nearly a full floor of the Museum has been given over to a changing season of performances, events, and residencies.
Curators Sussman and Sanders remarked: Taking the pulse of the time through the immediate experience of art is what the Whitney Biennial is all about. Its important to us to present not only the visual arts, but also performance, film, and music. As curators, we had a shared notion of this expanded field of the arts that was one of the things that made it natural for us to work together. And while the performing artists in the show may fall into defined categoriesdance or theater or the likewe think many of them have a lot of connecting points and dialogue with the visual artsits a discourse thats out there. What else did we discover? A number of artists are functioning as researchers and curators, drawing on the histories of art, design, dance, music, and technology. Artists are bringing other artists into their worka form of free collage or reinvention that borrows from the culture at large as a way of rewriting the standard narratives and exposing more relevant hybrids. There is also the radical production of new forms, fabrication on a more modest scale. Artists are constantly redefining what an artist can be at this moment and this Biennial celebrates that fact.
Donna De Salvo, the Whitneys Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs, commented: Elisabeth and Jay have turned out to be a natural fit. Throughout many months of research, travel, and preparation for the exhibition, it has become clear that this is a collaboration in the truest sense of the word. Their curiosity and openness to a range of artistic approaches across disciplines will, we believe, result in a Biennial characterized by a sense of the immediate, but informed by the richness of what has come before.
The 2012 Biennial comprises work by fifty-one artists. Among them are painters Jutta Koether, Nicole Eisenman, and Andrew Masullo; sculptors Vincent Fecteau and Matt Hoyt; playwright and theater director Richard Maxwell; musicians Alicia Hall Moran and Jason Moran, as well as the rock band The Red Krayola; the choreographers Michael Clark and Sarah Michelson; installation artists Nick Mauss, Tom Thayer, and Michael E. Smith; filmmakers such as Kelly Reichardt, Thom Andersen, Matt Porterfield, Laura Poitras, and Michael Robinson; and photographers LaToya Ruby Frazier and Liz Deschenes.