The Biennial is Back!

Quiet as It’s Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art

“We organized this Biennial to reflect these precarious and improvised times,” say the curators of the current exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Biennial has been a regular feature at the Whitney since 1932. Exhibiting works that have been completed in the previous two years, the Biennial is considered a snapshot of the state of art in America.

This year’s exhibit is delayed one year due to COVID. The theme “Quiet as It’s Kept” is, according to the curators, a “phrase typically said prior to something–often obvious–that should be kept secret.” How that relates to the works that I saw on display escapes me.

Nonetheless, the Biennial is always an innovative and dynamic exhibition and this year’s event is no exception. I thought the wide diversity of mediums on display was particularly noteworthy. Here’s a few of what for me were the highlights.

Video

Night Vision (Red as never been), Na Mira. This is 30 seconds of a 25 minute video.
I’m lying on my back looking up at this one displayed on the ceiling.

Sculpture

North American Buff Tit, Eric Wesley
North American Buff Tit, Eric Wesley
ishkode, Rebecca Belmore
ishkode, Rebecca Belmore. On the floor are bullet casings.

Painting

Sixth Street #2, Guadalupe Rosales
Sixth Street #2, Guadalupe Rosales
Occult Glossary, Matt Connors
Occult Glossary, Matt Connors

The Guiding Light, Harold Ancart
The Guiding Light, Harold Ancart
Untitled (Snag), Cy Gavin
Untitled (Snag), Cy Gavin

Photography

Rain in Rifle Season, Buck Ellison
Rain in Rifle Season, Buck Ellison. Part of series of photos imagining Erik Prince of private security firm Blackwater which was responsible for the massacre of 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007.
Untitled, Monica Arreola
Untitled, Monica Arreola

Three Critiques, Daniel Joseph Martinez
Three Critiques. or The Post-Human Manifesto for the Future; On the Origin of the Species, Daniel Joseph Martinez

Installations (works I didn’t know how to categorize)

A Clockwork, Sable Elyse Smith
A Clockwork, Sable Elyse Smith

wintercount, Duane Linklater
wintercount, Duane Linklater
Sutter's Mill, Jason Rhoades
Sutter’s Mill, Jason Rhoades

Palm Orchard, Alia Farid
Palm Orchard, Alia Farid

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2019 Biennial

2017 Biennial

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3 Responses to The Biennial is Back!

  1. What a great display, the ishkode sculpture is haunting, as intended I guess. Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Priti says:

    Beautiful exhibition! 👍well shared 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That gigantic “Dinky Duck” is stellar! I think the world is a nicer place because Eric Wesley knew that a 6″ tall dinky duck was not enough … that our world needs a 6′ tall dinky duck. He is right … and bonus points to you Ken, for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

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