Emerging Artists at the Whitney Biennial

I was thrilled to be able to see the first biennial to be held in the new Renzo Piano designed Whitney museum. The curators Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks selected 63 artists and collectives. Below are a small sample of the artists whose works jumped out and grabbed me.

1. Jo Baer/DAWN

Painting by Jo Baer. Encountering her works, you feel part of the design.

Painting by Jo Baer. Encountering her works, you feel part of the design.


2. KAYA (Collective)


Each of these pieces is part of the Body Bag Collection. Each one had names and dates scribbled on them to symbolize each character's personality. They seem like tortured souls to me. Very gothic.

3. Raúl de Nieves

The figures are made out of beads and other fabric embellishments. This piece was called, 'Somos Monstros'. His work explores life-and-death through religion, fashion, nature. His dedication to craftsmanship is obvious.

The figures are made out of beads and other fabric embellishments. This piece was called, 'Somos Monstros'. His work explores life-and-death through religion, fashion, nature. His dedication to craftsmanship is obvious.


4. Tala Madani

Her work confronts the radical dimensions to which desire and shame condition human behavior.

Her work confronts the radical dimensions to which desire and shame condition human behavior.


5. Pope.L aka William Pope.L

IMG_9655.JPG

I immediately liked this room because it was filled with 688 slices of bologna with photos of random people on each slice. The slang reference to baloney as being foolish or nonsense seemed to be one of the themes here. Pope.L's intentionally fabricated a story about the slices representing the Jewish population of Philadelphia, but then taking photos of random people with no regard for whether they were Jewish or not. This room also had a bottle of Mad Dog in a box on the wall. The sensation of realizing what you are "looking" at really hit me that so much is an illusion or fake in our urban environments.


6. Jon Kessler

Exodus, 2016. Mixed Media with a motor, surveillance camera, and LCD screen. After 9/11, he began experimenting with video. The series is called 'The Floating World' and he describes it as "using fear and folly to provoke a dialogue about our collective course as a planet."

Exodus, 2016. Mixed Media with a motor, surveillance camera, and LCD screen. After 9/11, he began experimenting with video. The series is called 'The Floating World' and he describes it as "using fear and folly to provoke a dialogue about our collective course as a planet."


7. John Riepenhoff

Handler, 2015. The artist makes paper-mache legs modeled after his own to hold different objects. Everything about it feels like he's poking fun at the art world's super large ego.

Handler, 2015. The artist makes paper-mache legs modeled after his own to hold different objects. Everything about it feels like he's poking fun at the art world's super large ego.