Every two years, the Whitney Museum of American Art takes a crack at making sense of the ever-sprawling world of contemporary art. This year, the Biennial curators have picked fifty-five artists for the 2010 snapshot.
It's never an easy undertaking, trying to take the temperature of the contemporary art world. The 2008 Biennial wasn't treated gently. One reviewer called it, "amorphous, random and mostly incomprehensible." Another wondered if it was a "biennial for a recession-bound time." Two years ago, the number of artists picked for the biennial was the smallest it had ever been -- eighty artists. This year, it's even smaller.
Still, associate curator Gary Carrion-Murayari says that 2010 biennial will be broadly representative of the scope of American art. He points out that the youngest artist chosen for this year's exhibition is 23 years old, and the oldest is 75.
"The story of American art is never one that's defined purely by unheard-of artists." Carrion-Murayari said. "What artists make in all stages of their careers is important to us...An artist doesn't necessary lose importance just because they've advanced in their career."
The 2008 event put a spotlight on performance art, with its use of the Park Avenue Armory. This year, performance will be incorporated on a more modest scale.
Los Angeles artist Martin Kersels is creating a sculptural installation in the lobby gallery that will also serve as a stage for artists, writers, musicians, choreographers, and DJs. The Chicago artist Theaster Gates will take over the scultpure court. Carrion-Murayari says he'll "be creating a series of situations where the public will interact with performers and musicians."
Here's a video by Pierce Jackson featuring curator Francesco Bonami and associate curator Carrion-Murayari in various locations throughout the Whitney, reading out the names of the artists.
So, let the nit-picking begin. What does the 2010 selection say about art today? And who did the curators miss? Tell us who you think best represents the state of contemporary art today.