Art gets real at the 2017 Whitney Biennial.
I'm only about a year late when it comes to posting pictures from my visit to the 2017 Whitney Biennial. But 2017 was an interesting year when it comes to taking a snapshot of contemporary art, what with my visits to this biennial, a trip to Skulptur Projecte Münster, Documenta 14, and La Biennale di Venezia. So I wanted to make sure I captured some of my experiences, no matter how late I am.
My feelings about the 2017 installment of the Whitney Biennial cluster around the reality of the human condition. From painting to sculpture to performance, works looked at the lives of people who certainly can't afford any of the work on view and might not even be able to afford visiting the exhibit. While that might sound like a slam against the art world, it's not. I like that artists seem to be worrying even more than usual about those who don't fall into the 51%, let alone the 1%.
A prime example are works from artist Puppies Puppies. The cover image of this post is one of those works, Liberty (Liberte), 2017. This performance was realized at different times by the artist, a performer of their choosing, or even a mannequin. The reference to street performers like those you find in New York's Times Square seemed to remind us of the realities of New York's less sophisticated residents. Those performers often look even more shabby than the costume presented here. But the tragedy and intrigue of both was impossible to ignore.
In the end, all the focus on real people was powerful. It was also a reminder that the people, places, and views we see every day are probably worth a little more thought.
Creative director and art nerd contemplating travel, books, theater, and art.