What the Whitney Biennial Tells Us About Art Today


1) Art is Political With the current state of political and social divisiveness in the United States, it’s no wonder the Whitney Biennial this year is saturated with political work. The Whitney has always focused on featuring the contemporary work of American artists, and most American artists today are angry, passionate and opinionated– and the biennial does not attempt to sugarcoat that. The pieces and installations beg the spectator to witness the racism, exclusivity, violence, segregation and capitalist opulence of America today, and pose the question: Now that you know, what will you do?
 Once you’ve seen it, you can't look away. For reference, see: Jon Kessler (Floor 5), Rafa Esparza (Floor 1), John Divola (Floor 5), Deanna Lawson (Floor 6), Henry Taylor (Floor 6), Ajay Kurian (Stairwell), and many more.


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2) Artists Are Generous Another thing that you would be quick to notice at the Biennial is that artist are generously sharing their platform and opportunities with other artists. By this, we mean that when the curator asked a particular artist to take part in this year’s biennial, many of those artists, in turn, asked other artists to form part of their installation or piece. This has created a sort of installation-within-the-installation theme for this year. It's very refreshing to be reminded of how art can create community when an artist isn’t looking to merely cater to their own ego. For reference, see: Occupy Museums (Floor 5), and John Riepenhoff (Floor 5), Frances Stark's study of the book Censorship Now (Floor 5)


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