Contemporary art exhibitions in New York: The Whitney Museum holds the signature 78th Whitney Biennial in Manhattan
Arriving at a period of social instability, the Whitney Biennial challenges visitors’ to reflect on themselves and the community
The Whitney Museum is set to open its first Biennial in the museum’s new home in Manhattan. The survey of American contemporary art returns with a program examining the individual’s place in a turbulent society, in a way more daring than ever before. The 2017 show comes three years after the previous biennial, a longer-than-usual break that followed the museum’s move to a new Renzo Piano-designed building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. The Museum’s signature exhibition, the Whitney Biennial has been running since 1992 and is now in its 78th edition.
Painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, film and video, photography, activism, music, performance and video-game design are among the diverse forms represented in the show, which features the work of 63 artists and collectives and is the museum’s largest biennial ever in terms of gallery space.
The biennial is an invitational show that features only work produced in the years since the previous edition, and curators Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks scoured the country to find many of the emerging artists featured in the show while forging new collections with more established artists.
American current events run as an undercurrent through the show — organizers point to “racial tensions, economic inequalities and polarizing politics” — and the works on display will examine how such realities affect one’s sense of self and community.
“Throughout our research and travel we’ve been moved by the impassioned discussions we had about recent tumult in society, politics and the economic system,” said Lew. “Against this backdrop,” notes Locks, “many of the participating artists are asking probing questions about the self and the social, and where these intersect.”
The biennial’s film program will present screenings on ten consecutive Sundays, followed by conversations with the filmmakers.
The Whitney Biennial runs March 17 through June 11; the sixth floor remains opens through July 16.
For more information on the Whitney Biennial, visit Whitney Museum of American Art.