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Tuesday 08.16.05

« D-irty Dirty | Main | Troy Briggs + Amanda Ryan = 114 »

The Whitney Drill

Wrong Whitney, and can't she afford a cordless drill?

Well folks it is Whitney Biennial studio visit time again and since August is a notoriously dead month it's a topic ripe for near pointless conjecture. (Although Portland surprisingly still has a bit going on and then some.)

Just in case you haven't come out of your studio for 8 months, Chrissie Iles and Philippe Vergne are the co-curators this time out. Don't worry, odds are they probably won't visit you or your favorite artists...

For fun, let's explore some potential themes and trends for Whitney 06?

1) More fetish of fantasy escapism as a metaphor for liberal impotence?

2) Artists might be chosen through a series of photo shoots for Vogue… or better yet, pick only "seasoned" artists just to piss off all the young whippersnappers under 55. (call it the Boomer Biennial. I like it and I'm 30+ish. Has the whole youth thing gotten old?)

3) Just to keep the clichés fresh, declare "photography is dead"

4) Focus on the habits of infamous museum directors instead of art… Thomas Krens, Barry Munitz and Malcom Rogers?

5) Just rent out the Whitney to NADA and get it over with. Not gonna happen, but Clear Channel might eventually do it…

Seriously, will it go political like the recent Venice Biennale? Or should it present artists who actively look at the future and its challenges instead of the backwards nostalgia of the last biennial? Will it be about paranoia and pleasure in keeping with the current state of the nation? Stasis as a theme? Maybe something about the demographic tension between the Boomers and everyone else?

Will it travel as Tyler Green has suggested in the Wall Street Journal?

Hmmmm lets look at the past, the 2002 Whitney was chock full of youth subculture mongering, it fetished doodle-fantasy and the trend stuck. It's best offering, the Forcefield collective, didn't stay together too long after being discovered though.

At WB2002, The Royal Art Lodge's influence was everywhere but being Canadians they couldn't take part. It's also very likely the WB2002 had too many artists which weakened its arguments and suffocated people. Critics destroyed it, possibly because it wasn't New York centric (at a time when New York had just come under attack). Then again, they probably destroyed it because almost all of it lacked staying power, except Chris Johanson. (its not because he's in Portland either... he's often really good)

The 2004 Whitney was hailed as a godsend, mostly because the theme of nostalgia was easy for most everyone to relate to. It also seemed attuned to "the market" and doing so again would look bad. Yes, WB2004 was all about New York despite the fact the art world has fragmented. Somehow WB2006 needs more teeth than the previous two and the now rampant quasi-Victoriana ain't the toothiest of genres.

One last thing, the recent Greater New York show would have been a critical dud in LA, Seattle, Houston or Portland too. Standards are up in the West and each city has its better artists that make New York's B+ team look rather bad. Lets just see A team art please? (and no nostalgic Mr. T references?)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 16, 2005 at 21:03 | Comments (0)


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