The 2014 Whitney Biennial

The 2014 Whitney Biennial is, as in previous years, absorbing and exhausting, with some art that will floor and some art that is a snooze fest. The show does, then, achieve its purpose: it is an apt portrayal of American contemporary art right now.

sarah charlesworth the wild magSarah Charlesworth, Regarding Venus

The work took up three of the museum’s five floors, each one designated to an outside curator: Stuart Comer, chief curator of media and performance at the MoMA; Anthony Elms, associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia; and Michelle Grabner, an artists and professor in the painting and drawing department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Less than a cohesive, unified collaboration between the three, the Biennial was more a conversation, giving voice to the distinct variations between curatorial styles. The effect was both refreshing, but at time it lent a desultory feel to the show as a whole.

It made for a dense show that included the work of 103 contributors (more than the twice the number in 2012), often unconventionally displayed. Art spilled out willfully into the margins of the museum— stairwells, basement, elevators, lobby, sculpture court. Overwhelming is an understatement. The highlights though, still managed to beam.

Bjarne Melgaard’s transgressive funhouse of licentiousness was among them, along with, in a more tamed realm, a multicolored tapestried column from Sheila Hicks, and the otherworldly digitally constructed botanical studies by Millijohn Ruperto and Ulrik Heltoft. Keith Mayerson’s strangely relevant paintings filled a small room wall to wall and a collection of Shio Kusaka’s pottery posited the lighter, regal side of things. Check out the rest of The WILD favorites from the Biennial below, and be sure to scope out the show yourself this coming Friday when it opens to the public.

sarah charlesworth the wild magSarah Charlesworth, Camera Work

millijohn ruperto, Ulrik Heltoft the wild magMillijohn Ruperto, Ulrik Heltoft, Botanical Studies, photos via

Keith Mayerson the wild magKeith Mayerson, multiple paintings

Bjarne Melgaard the wild magBjarne Melgaard

Bjarne Melgaard the wild magBjarne Melgaard

Bjarne Melgaard the wild magBjarne Melgaard

Bjarne Melgaard the wild magBjarne Melgaard

carol jackson the wild magCarol Jackson, Pandemonium

ricky swallow the wild magRicky Swallow, Stair With Contents

rebecca morris the wild magRebecca Morris, Untitled

rebecca morris the wild magRebecca Morris, Untitled

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 1.49.10 PMJennifer Bornstein, still from Untitled video

jennifer bornstein the wild magJennifer Bornstein, still from Untitled video

peter schuyff the wild magPeter Schuyff, Sans Papier

peter schuyff the wild magPeter Schuyff, Sans Papier

Sheila Hicks the wild magSheila Hicks, Supple Column

Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 2.06.27 PM

Laura Owens the wild magLaura Owens, Untitled

joel otterson the wild magDona Nelson, Okie Dokie

joel otterson the wild magDona Nelson, String Beans

 

All photos by Aviva Rowley (unless otherwise specified).

text by: Bianca Ozeri










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