2012 Whitney Biennial

Photo by Librado Romero

One of the best Whitney Biennials in recent memory may or may not contain a lot more outstanding art than its predecessors, but that’s not the point. The 2012 incarnation is a new and exhilarating species of exhibition, an emerging curatorial life form, at least for New York.

Possessed of a remarkable clarity of vision, a striking spatial intelligence and a generous stylistic inclusiveness, it places on an equal footing art objects and time-based art — not just video and performance art but music, dance, theater, film — and does so on a scale and with a degree of aplomb we have not seen before in this town. In a way that is at once superbly ordered and open-ended, densely structured and, upon first encounter, deceptively unassuming, the exhibition manages both to reinvent the signature show of the Whitney Museum of American Art and to offer a bit of redemption for the out-of-control, money-saturated art world. 

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