the whitney museum biennial

This morning, we’re getting a first look at the 2017 Biennial. Here’s Raúl de Nieves’s site-specific work on the fifth floor. The artist covered six floor-to-ceiling windows with eighteen “stained-glass” panels he made using paper, wood, glue, tape, beads, and acetate sheets. They create a vivid backdrop for the beaded sculptures, especially in the morning sun!

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Spring has sprung…at least in Asad Raza’s installation! In Root sequence. Mother tongue (2017), Raza brings the forest into the Museum. The artist has described the 26 trees growing in the space as characters, individual inhabitants in a living network that includes their human caretakers.

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The clapback:

  • “What the fuck is this” - merlincarpenter
  • “Incredibly insulting for a white woman to make this painting.” - cheyennejulien
  • “Seriously wtf is this bullshit? This is some fucking wild ally theater. Like a yt woman painting the death of a Black person that happened because of a yt woman like wtf is this bullshit, @lizny3?”
    “@lindqvistcontemporary u owe Black ppl reparations for enjoying this painting”
    “@lizny3 u owe Black ppl money for posting and enjoying this painting. Every yt person who likes this painting is a complete piece of shit.”
    “@lizny3 yt silence equals Black death” - winslowlaroche
  • “Wow fuck this. So they put this white bullshit in when they could have had a Black artist in its place.”
    “White people profiting off the crimes of their ancestors. I want to puke.”
    “It was brave for Mama Till to share with the world what white supremacy did to her son. It’s exploitative for a white woman to aestheticize that pain and trauma. It’s BULLSHIT for the Whitney to then select it to be in their show.”
    “Literally the laziest piece of art that I have ever seen. What stakes does this white woman have in this art? She’s not reliving generations of racist violence and trauma. She’s not giving up any privilege in creating this image. Plus it’s just genuinely a mediocre piece. But y'all hoes live for large scale painting 🙄”
    “This is the reason why the YAMS collective dropped out of the @whitneymuseum biennial in 2014 #WHITEneyMuseum” - lilpettycrocker
  • “This tone deaf bullshit needs to be removed and disposed of immediately.”
    “And your emoji usage is absolute garbage. Everything about this is disturbing.” - tylerhi
  • “Fuck this fuck this fuck this” - roll_called
  • “This is fucking heinous. Violent, vile, so inappropriate. How do you possibly justify this? At all. Fuck this trash, from *artist* to concept to production to inclusion. Fucked @lizny3@whitneymuseum #whitneybiennial2017″ - joe_miranda
  • “This is disgusting and offensive and disrespectful. But even more so is the art institution’s complete and utter inability to see and understand how wrong this is. The complete lack of critical analysis or pushback just pulls the rug back on an even bigger problem-bigger than this artist and bigger than this institution. As an artist, it makes me question EVERYTHING i know about art and the industry. As a Black artist, it reinforces how necessary my voice…and the many others which this industry continues to ignore…is. And believe me you, after this, I’m only get louder. So kudos to one more White artist profiting from Black death…and for y'all signing off that check.” - brownivyx

anonymous asked:

What do you think of what happened with the whitney biennial? From someone who worked in a museum? I feel like there's not enough discussed about the curators/staff parts in this

Yeah lmao I would argue that it’s equally or almost more specifically the fault of the curators and the art market because lord knows there are shitheads making inflammatory art out there 24/7 who never get their work in major shows…the whitney biennial has this reputation for being on the edge but really I’d argue the kind of painting that was recently drew criticism is completely in line with how it usually is… it’s just that the content is normally not that on the nose and blatantly offensive and this time they got stung for it. the internet has a big part to play in this because the assumed audience for a whitney exhibition aren’t usually the ones who would make a stink about things…anyways burn the museums and all that.

Lyle Ashton Harris’s Once (Now) Again, a site-specific multimedia installation, features a three-channel video work comprised of projected images taken from Harris’s Ektachrome Archive (photographed 1986–2000) as well as three new video works using footage originally recorded on Hi-8 and MiniDV format in the 1990s. The resulting assemblage serves to both memorialize and evoke moments lived at the intersection of the personal and the political.

Bearing witness to a period of seismic shifts—the emergence of multiculturalism, the second wave of AIDS activism, and the interconnection of the contemporary art scene with LGBTQ and African diasporic communities—the Ektachrome Archive, an ongoing project, documents his friends, family, and lovers. By setting intimate moments alongside landmark events (such as the Black Popular Culture Conference in 1991, the truce between the Crips and the Bloods in 1992, the Black Male exhibition at the Whitney in 1994, and the Black Nations/Queer Nations Conference in 1995), the archive constructs collective and private narratives to comment on identity, desire, sexuality, and loss.

Explore the Ektachrome slide images from the three-channel video installation Ektachrome Archives (New York Mix) (2017) on


The 2017 Whitney Biennial, the seventy-eighth installment of the longest-running survey of American art, opens today! The Biennial features sixty-three individuals and collectives whose work takes a wide variety of forms, from painting and installation to activism and video-game design.

Always a flashpoint for discussion and debate, the Biennial is an exhibition not to be missed.

The 2017 Biennial “is winningly theatrical in its use of the Whitney’s majestic new spaces,” says The New Yorker.

[Installation view of Samara Golden, The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, 2017. Whitney Biennial 2017, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 17-June 11, 2017. Photograph by Matthew Carasella]

A throwback in honor of our recently announced Laura Owens mid-career retrospective, opening this November. On the left is a work by Owens, now part of our collection, hanging in the 2014 Biennial. Untitled (2014) appropriates a 1970s inspirational poster and reconfigures the image into multiple screenprinted layers, adding thick impasto marks and a wooden grid that cuts through the strata. The background layer, which is sized 3% larger than the foreground, appears to lift off the linen thanks to a trompe-l’oeil shadow, while the upper layer is presented as a gestural scribble. Among some of the unsettling results of this separation are a boy’s fractured face and the jumbled text which reiterates the words “and hang.“

[Installation view of Whitney Biennial 2014 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 7, 2014–May 25, 2014). Photograph by Sheldan C. Collins]

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Keith Mayerson’s Drum Majors (Martin Luther King, Jr., and Family), which was installed at the 2014 Biennial.

Keith Mayerson (b. 1966), Drum Majors (Martin Luther King, Jr., and Family), 2008. Oil on linen, 40 × 30 in. (101.6 × 76.2 cm). Courtesy the artist