Round-Up: The Whitney Biennial Opens in New York, Spills into the Armory

March 6th, 2008


“Animal Estates” by Fritz Haeg via the New York Times

The 2008 Whitney Biennial opened this Thursday at the Whitney Museum of American Art, to usual fanfare and anticipation. The exhibition will take place from March 6 until June 1, 2008 and will host eighty-one artists, selected to tell us ‘where American art stands today.’ The Biennial was founded in 1932 and has evolved into the most important survey of the state of contemporary art in the United States.
Whitney Biennial 2008 [Whitney]
Interactive installation view with audio commentary [ New York Times]
Opening of the Whitney Biennial 2008 [New York Sun]
Whitney and Park Avenue Armory Collaboration [City Guide NY]
By-the-numbers: New York, Los Angeles well-represented [artinfo]
Opening night photos: artists, curators and friends [ArtForum]
Whitney Biennial opens with ‘casual idealism’ [New York Sun]
Mood of Biennial reflects ‘slowness’ in art economy [New York Times ]

Going prices for seven most talked-about artists [Portfolio]
Best of show and worst of show [artfagcity]
Podcast: Portraits of past biennial participants [Whitney]
Most represented dealers in the show[Portfolio]
Some say witty, some say ingratiating [culturegrrl]

Themes brought out this year include the ephemeral nature of art, time and memory, evident in pieces like Fritz Haeg’s “Animal Estates.” The majority of the work this year was commissioned especially for the show.

Sundown Salon #29: Dancing Convention by Fritz Haeg [ Whitney ]

“Untitled, 2006″ by Charles Long [ Canadian Press ]

Still from White Lines by Marina Rosenfeld [ Whitney ]

This year the Whitney Biennial has spilled over into the Park Avenue Armory with an ambitious program of performance, events, temporary installations, videos, and other public programs. Curators Henriette Huldisch and Shamim Momin reference the Biennial as a political show in terms of its questions asked. Coco Fusco, who has a video, “Operation Atropos,” in the show, will host a public talk at the Armory about women in the military — an example of one of the overtly political pieces in the show (Spike Lee’s “When the Levee’s Broke” is also present).

Olaf Breuning, Still from Home 2, video on view at the Park Avenue Armory [Whitney ]

Coco Fusco, A Room of One’s Own [Whitney ]

Assemblage, collage, and untraditional materials are used frequently in the show. Phoebe Washburn pushes the idea of environments, creating an ecosystem by planting paper-whites in brightly colored golf balls immersed in 60 gallons of circulating Gatorade.

While some have noted that mood of the show, perhaps reflecting the world (and art market) economy is arguably less glamorous than biennials of the recent past, there is a tequila bar, courtesy of artist Eduardo Sarabia. A few years ago, he had some special tequila made and imported to New York, then moved to Berlin and opened a sporadic, unlicensed bar in the basement of an art school. His work at the Armory is an elaborated version of the Berlin bar.

Salon Aleman” –a bar for homemade tequila by Eduardo Sarabia [New York Art]

A woman looks at “strike” by Shannon Ebner [ The China Post ]

‘The Night Sky Over New York’ by Carol Bove [The New York Sun ]

Rashawn Griffin’s Untitled in the Lobby [ Whitney ]