Whitney Biennial 2014 Part I

May 7th, 2014


Elijah Burgher

Artists: Academy Records and Matt Hanner, Terry Adkins, Robert Ashley and Alex Waterman, Michel Auder, Elijah Burgher, Jimmie Durham, Joseph Grigely, Miguel Gutierrez, Susan Howe, Gary Indiana, Carol Jackson, Angie Keefer, Zoe Leonard, Dave McKenzie, Rebecca Morris, My Barbarian, Paul P., taisha paggett, Charlemagne Palestine, Public Collectors, Steve Reinke with Jessie Mott, Allan Sekula, Valerie Snobeck and Catherine Sullivan, Charline von Heyl

Venue: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

CuratorAnthony Elms

Date: March 7 – May 25, 2014

Note: Published on the occasion of the 2014 Biennial, this essay by Marc Fischer describes the life and work of Malachi Ritscher, the subject of Public Collectors’ 2014 Biennial installation.

Click here to view slideshow

IMG_3656 copyae

My Barbarian  Photo by Stephanie Berger  Courtesy of The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Joseph Grigely  The Gregory Battcock Archive, 2009-14  Various inscribed and printed documents from Gregory Battcock's personal archive, printed captions, seven vitrines, five framed posters, and one painting Dimensions variable  Collection of the artist; courtesy Air de Paris, Paris

Full gallery of videos, images, press release and link available after the jump.

Videos:

Michel Auder, excerpt from Untitled (I Was Looking Back To See If You Were Looking Back At Me To See Me Looking Back At You), 2013. Three-channel high-definition digital video, color, sound; 15:12 min. Collection of the artist; courtesy Office Baroque, Brussels and Galleria Fonti, Naples.

 

Michel Auder, excerpt from Untitled (I Was Looking Back To See If You Were Looking Back At Me To See Me Looking Back At You), 2013. Three-channel high-definition digital video, color, sound; 15:12 min. Collection of the artist; courtesy Office Baroque, Brussels and Galleria Fonti, Naples.

 

Michel Auder, excerpt from Untitled (I Was Looking Back To See If You Were Looking Back At Me To See Me Looking Back At You), 2013. Three-channel high-definition digital video, color, sound; 15:12 min. Collection of the artist; courtesy Office Baroque, Brussels and Galleria Fonti, Naples.

 

My Barbarian, excerpt from Universal Declaration of Infantile Anxiety Situations Reflected in the Creative Impulse, 2013. High definition video, color, sound; 29:02 min. Collection of the artists; courtesy Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Los Angeles.

 

Images:

Videos courtesy of the artists and the Whitney Museum, New York. Photos by Contemporary Art Daily. 

Press Release:

As curator Anthony Elms conceived his installation for the Biennial, he kept returning to a question found in the notes that architect Marcel Breuer made while designing the Whitney’s building here at 945 Madison Avenue: “What should a museum look like, a museum in Manhattan?” Just as Breuer’s Whitney—with its heavy walls and retreating facade—unapologetically sets its own material and temporal identity against the city’s quotidian business rhythms, the curatorial choices here encourage, and even require, focused attention amid distraction and rush. The assembled projects are nuanced and particular, intended to instill understanding through feeling and direct experience.

Two works central to Elms’s thinking respond to the Whitney building’s iconic features. In this regard they act as satellites to his presentation on this floor. The camera obscura that Zoe Leonard built using the large, trapezoidal window on the fourth floor to “establish a contact with the outside,” to borrow a phrase from Breuer, brings the inverted image of the city inside. Charlemagne Palestine’s sonorous installation in the stairwell indicates a commitment to actions that resonate—literally, in Palestine’s project, and politically, economically, or historically elsewhere. Some selections, meanwhile, emerge from the Museum’s history. For example, Susan Howe’s collage poems draw in part from her encounter with the work of artist Paul Thek, which she saw at the Whitney in 2010.

Other objects on view have a responsive relationship to the Whitney. Some of them—like the sculpture by Jimmie Durham, an artist whose self-imposed exile from the United States puts pressure on the very idea of what it means to be an American artist—exert a contrary, provocative force. Many others—including Gary Indiana, Academy Records and Matt Hanner, and My Barbarian—slip between the cracks of traditional artistic disciplines, or draw their significance from fine-grained details. In this context, the Museum becomes a frame for creative investigation. A number of the artists included—for example, Michel Auder, Valerie Snobeck and Catherine Sullivan, and Charline von Heyl—attend carefully to the expressive histories and traditions of their chosen materials. Public Collectors and Joseph Grigely, while very different in approach, present richly textured archives and collections—items and methods of narrative that would not ordinarily be the focus of museum displays, and that we experience differently because they are. Overall, the projects here challenge us to recalibrate our relationship with the overlooked in our lives, studying their parts minutely in order to get a better feel for a larger whole.

Anthony Elms is associate curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and editor of WhiteWalls, an independent publisher of artists’ books and projects. He also makes and writes about art.

Link: Whitney Biennial 2014 Part I

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