THE MASTERFUL NARRATIVE OF THE 2017 WHITNEY BIENNIAL

 

The 78th Whitney biennial, which brings back the event after three years of absence and transports it for the first time to its new location on the meatpacking district, has been making waves throughout the art world for its powerful political and social messages, its masterful sense of time and its surprising cohesion.  The building itself, by architect Renzo Piano, gives out a fitting contemporary feeling with it’s glass windows and gravity-defying silouhette, and makes for an excellent introduction to this edition of the biennial.

 Raúl De Nieves' billboard-size Biennial contribution,  beginning & the end neither & the otherwise betwixt & between the end is the beginning & the end , is made from everyday material like tape, paper, glue and beads. Matthew Carasella/Courtesy of The Whitney Museum

Raúl De Nieves' billboard-size Biennial contribution, beginning & the end neither & the otherwise betwixt & between the end is the beginning & the end, is made from everyday material like tape, paper, glue and beads. Matthew Carasella/Courtesy of The Whitney Museum

Many of the pieces seem to repair on social injustice and violence as well as the effect these take on our society, raising questions and pondering more than affirming on numerous instances.

Works like “real violence”, by Jordan Wolfson, went for a more visceral way of asking, to polarizing results and considerable attention. the piece is short and certainly eloquent,  although maybe cheap, as it explores “violence as a rupture or distortion of our everyday contiousness” using virtual reality.

Artist Henry Taylor, who paints every-day life scenes of african american individuals, urges us with “THE TIMES, THAY AIN’T CHANGING FAST ENOUGH” an explicit portrait of the last moments of Philando Castile. His space was shared with the work of photographer Deanna Lawson, with pieces full of emotion, mystery and memory, succesfuly achieving a collaborative surrounding.

 

Although the exhibition’s heavy political tone could be read as a reaction to the current affairs of trump’s administration, it has been clarified that the pieces were chosen long before the new president’s victory.  

 

Still, the thematic of the event and it’s almost symmetrical perfection couldn’t be more appropriate, and it serves as an important message of reflection and a sort of involuntary battle front against the newly awakened tensions to come.

 Installation view of Henry Taylor,  The 4th , 2012-2017 and  THE TIMES THAY AINT A CHANGING, FAST ENOUGH!, 2017 , at the 2017 Whitney Biennial. Collection of the artist; courtesy Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo. Installation view of Deana Lawson,  Ring Bearer , 2016, at the 20017 Whitney Biennial. Collection of the artist; courtesy Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York. Photograph by Matthew Carasella, courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Installation view of Henry Taylor, The 4th, 2012-2017 and THE TIMES THAY AINT A CHANGING, FAST ENOUGH!, 2017, at the 2017 Whitney Biennial. Collection of the artist; courtesy Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo. Installation view of Deana Lawson, Ring Bearer, 2016, at the 20017 Whitney Biennial. Collection of the artist; courtesy Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York. Photograph by Matthew Carasella, courtesy of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Although the exhibition’s heavy political tone could be read as a reaction to the current affairs of trump’s administration, it has been clarified that the pieces were chosen long before the new president’s victory.  

Still, the thematic of the event and it’s almost symmetrical perfection couldn’t be more appropriate, and it serves as an important message of reflection and a sort of involuntary battle front against the newly awakened tensions to come.

 Deana Lawson (b.1979), Ring Bearer , 2016. Inkjet print, 43x54 in. (109.2 x 137.2 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy Rhonda Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, and Sikkema Jenkins & co., New York

Deana Lawson (b.1979),Ring Bearer, 2016. Inkjet print, 43x54 in. (109.2 x 137.2 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy Rhonda Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, and Sikkema Jenkins & co., New York

Although the exhibition’s heavy political tone could be read as a reaction to the current affairs of trump’s administration, it has been clarified that the pieces were chosen long before the new president’s victory.  

Still, the thematic of the event and it’s almost symmetrical perfection couldn’t be more appropriate, and it serves as an important message of reflection and a sort of involuntary battle front against the newly awakened tensions to come.