Jordan Wolfson

Reflections on turbulence + tension: a guide to Whitney Biennial 2017

14 March 2017

The 2017 Whitney Biennial is being held at New York’s Whitney Museum, opening March 17 and running to June 11.

GCC, GCC Portrait (2016). Digital photograph. Courtesy the artists + Whitney Biennale, New York.

Co-curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks (and with Aily Nash for the film program), this year’s edition will be the 78th instalment, showcasing a variety of work by 63 artists and collectives who challenge and reflect on what the Whitney describes as “a time rife with racial tensions, economic inequities, and polarizing politic.”

From painting, video and installation, to video-game design, music and activism, the biennial will feature a diverse range of media and practices that respond to the chosen theme revolved around “the formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society”.

Our picks

Among the participating artists included are collective GCC (which stands for Gulf Cooperation Council and includes Nanu Al-Hamad, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Aziz Alqatami, Barrak Alzaid, Khalid al Gharaballi, Amal Khalaf, Fatima Al Qadiri, Monira Al Qadiri) who will present new sculptural installation ‘Local police find fruit with spells’ (2017). The work will explore tradition, ‘postcolonial influence’ and sorcery through a dramatization of a tabloid news piece revolved around a melon that was washed ashore and had the police called on it due to being “covered in talismanic inscriptions and punctured by nails.”

Puppies Puppies, Liberty (Liberté) (2016). Performance. Courtesy the artist + Galerie Balice Hertling, Paris. Photograph by Stephan Tanbin Sastrawidjaja

On April 18 + 19, Susan Cianciolo will present immersive environment ‘RUN RESTAURANT UNTITLED’ (2017), transforming the gallery’s restaurant into a new communal space.

In addition, Jessi Reaves will present new furniture-sculpture works that will be placed throughout the gallery, including the conference rooms. There will be multiple performances realized at different times by Puppies Puppies, a new VR film ‘Real violence’ by Jordan WolfsonJulien Nguyen will present new paintings Executive Function and Executive Solutions (2017) among many others, including KAYA, Raul de Nieves, Frances Stark and Anicka Yi.

The film program will present a screening and conversation with an artist, each Sunday at 3pm. Among the exciting roster of work that will be shown, some notable ones include Leilah Weinraub’s ‘SHAKEDOWN’ that examines Black lesbian strip club culture in Los Angeles, an homage to the Gaza Strip in Basma Alsharif‘s feature length ‘Ouroboros,’ and films by Dani Leventhal, among many others.

See the Whitney Museum website for a full programme and more details.**

The Whitney Biennial 2017 is on at New York’s Whitney Museum, running March 17 to June 11, 2017.

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