Whitney Biennial 2017 Preview: Painting and More

Artist’s Network was in New York this week for a preview of the 2017 Whitney Biennial, the 78th exhibition in the series, which dates back to 1932 and is perhaps the most influential survey of contemporary American art. This year’s program is the first Biennial to be held in the Whitney Museum’s new building in Lower Manhattan.

Co-curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks, the 2017 Biennial features more than 60 artists and artist-collectives–a relatively small number, by the standards of recent biennials. Painting is well-represented; there’s also lots of video and installation, as well as examples of sound art, sculpture and photography. Among the less-conventional media and materials on display are text-based video games, virtual reality, a forest of potted saplings, and a walk-in structure whose walls are lined with slices of decaying bologna.

As much as anything else, the Biennial provides fodder for debate among art lovers, artists and critics. Is it an accurate reflection of current American art? Is such a thing even possible? Is the whole program hopelessly biased one way or another? Are the selections too political? Not political enough? Is there too much painting? Not enough painting? Much, of course, depends on one’s perspective–at this week’s press event I overheard arguments on both sides of this last question.

A generous sample of artwork from the Biennial can be seen online at http://ift.tt/1SNluZH. There’s something here for…if not everyone, almost everyone. (If you’re wholly adverse to modern art, you may just want to look away now.) Some of this correspondent’s personal favorites were the multipanel oil-and-encaustic paintings of Julien Nguyen; the aggressively impasto oil paintings of Dana Schutz; a dazzling and disturbing wall of faux-stained-glass windows by Raúl de Nieves; and a slideshow-style video installation by Oto Gillen made up of a year’s worth of photographs of New York City streets.

Because Artist’s Network is devoted in large part to painting and representational art, we’ve put together the following preview with an eye toward artwork in that vein, plus a few other selections that hint at the breadth of work on view. Enjoy–or don’t!–and take to the comments to let us know your thoughts.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network

Installation view of Whitney Biennial 2017, with artwork by Cauleen Smith (above), Torey Thornton (center) and Pope.L (right). Photo by the author for Artist’s Network.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network | Aliza Niesenbaum

La Talaverita, Sunday Morning NY Times, by Aliza Nisenbaum, 2016, oil on linen, 68 x 88. Collection the artist; courtesy T293 Gallery, Rome and Mary Mary, Glasgow. Photo courtesy The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network | Dana Schutz

Open Casket, by Dana Schutz, 2016, oil on canvas, 39 x 53. Collection the artist; Petzel Gallery, New York and Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin. Photo by the author for Artist’s Network.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network

Installation view of Whitney Biennial 2017, with artwork by Julien Nguyen. Photo by the author for Artist’s Network.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network | Julien Nguyen

Executive Function (detail), by Julien Nguyen, oil and encaustic on linen-mounted panel, 69 x 63 1/4. Collection the artist; courtesy Neue Alte Brucke, Frankfurt, and Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London. Photo by the author for Artist’s Network.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network | Celeste Dupuy-Spencer

Installation view of Whitney Biennial 2017, with watercolors and works on paper by Celeste Dupuy-Spencer. Photo by the author for Artist’s Network.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network | Raúl de Nieves

Installation view of Beginning & the end neither & the otherwise betwixt & between the end is the beginning & the end, by Raúl de Nieves, 2016, paper, wood, glue, acetates, tape, and beads, 195 x 456. Collection the artist; courtesy Company Gallery, New York. Photo by the author for Artist’s Network.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network | Asad Raza

Installation view of Root sequence. Mother tongue, by Asad Raza, 2017. Collection of the artist. Photograph by Matthew Carasella; courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network | Samara Golden

Installation view of The Meat Grinder’s Iron Clothes, by Samara Golden, 2017. Photograph by Matthew Carasella; courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network | Shara Hughes

In The Clear, by Shara Hughes, 2016, oil, acrylic and dye on canvas, 68 x 60. Collection of the artist; courtesy Rachel Uffner, New York. Photo courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network | Kaari Upson

Installation view of Whitney Biennial 2017, with artwork by Kaari Upson. Photograph by Matthew Carasella; courtesy the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York.

Whitney Biennial 2017 | Artist's Network | Larry Bell

Installation view of Pacific Red II, by Larry Bell, 2017, laminated glass, twenty-four 72 x 96 panels and twenty-four 72 x 48 panels. Collection the artist; courtesy Hauser Wirth * Schimmel, Los Angeles. Photo by the author for Artist’s Network.

The post Whitney Biennial 2017 Preview: Painting and More appeared first on Artist's Network.

from Artist’s Network http://ift.tt/2nonmn5

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