SPECIAL FEATURE: Whitney Biennial 2019

Artists: Eddie Arroyo, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Olga Balema, Morgan Bassichis, Blitz Bazawule, Alexandra Bell, Brian Belott, Meriem Bennani, Robert Bittenbender, Lucas Blalock, Garrett Bradley, Milano Chow, Colectivo Los Ingrávidos, Thirza Cuthand, John Edmonds, Nicole Eisenman, Janiva Ellis, Kota Ezawa, Brendan Fernandes, FIERCE and Paper Tiger Television, Marcus Fischer, Forensic Architecture, Ellie Ga, Nicholas Galanin, Sofía Gallisá Muriente, Jeffrey Gibson, Todd Gray, Sam Green, Barbara Hammer, Ilana Harris-Babou, Matthew Angelo Harrison, Curran Hatleberg, Madeline Hollander, Iman Issa, Tomashi Jackson, Steffani Jemison, Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, and Jackson Polys, Christine Sun Kim, Josh Kline, Autumn Knight, Carolyn Lazard, Maia Ruth Lee, Simone Leigh, Daniel Lind-Ramos, James Luna, Eric N. Mack, Calvin Marcus, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Troy Michie, Joe Minter, Keegan Monaghan, Caroline Monnet, Darius Clark Monroe, Ragen Moss, Sahra Motalebi, Marlon Mullen, Jeanette Mundt, Wangechi Mutu, Las Nietas de Nonó, Jenn Nkiru, Laura Ortman, Jennifer Packer, nibia pastrana santiago, Elle Pérez, Pat Phillips, Gala Porras-Kim, Walter Price, Carissa Rodriguez, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Heji Shin, Diane Simpson, Martine Syms, Kyle Thurman, Mariana Valencia, Agustina Woodgate

Venue: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, US

Curated by: Rujeko Hockley and Jane Panetta

Date: May 17 – September 22, 2019

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and ©Whitney Museum of American Art

The 2019 Whitney Biennial is the seventy-ninth installment of the longest-running survey of recent American art. Often described as a snapshot of art in the United States, the Biennial brings together work by individuals and collectives in a broad array of mediums. Over the past year and a half—an undeniably intense and polarized time in this country—we made hundreds of studio visits. While we often encountered heightened emotions, they were directed toward thoughtful and productive experimentation, the re-envisioning of self and society, and political and aesthetic strategies for survival. Although much of the work presented here is steeped in sociopolitical concerns, the cumulative effect is open-ended and hopeful.

Key issues and approaches emerge across the exhibition: the mining of history as a means to reimagine the present or future; a profound consideration of race, gender, and equity; and explorations of the vulnerability of the body. Concerns for community appear in the content and social engagement of the work and also in the ways that the artists navigate the world. Many of the artists included emphasize the physicality of their materials, whether in sculptures assembled out of found objects, heavily worked paintings, or painstakingly detailed drawings. An emphasis on the artist’s hand suggests a rejection of the digital and the related slick, packaged presentation of the self in favor of more individualized and idiosyncratic work.

While we were organizing this exhibition, broader debates in the public sphere surfaced at the Museum, which itself became the site and subject of protest, as it has been throughout its history. Fundamental to the Whitney’s identity is its openness to dialogue, and the conversations that have occurred here and across the country became a productive lens through which to synthesize our own looking, thinking, and self-questioning.

—Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley, co-curators

Installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 17-September 22, 2019). From left to right: Kyle Thurman, Suggested Occupation 31 (trying to remember a voice), 2019; Kyle Thurman, Suggested Occupation 9, 2017-18; Kyle Thurman, Suggested Occupation 29 (Career Day), 2019; Kyle Thurman, Suggested Occupation 30, 2019; Kyle Thurman, Suggested Occupation 22, 2018; Kyle Thurman, Suggested Occupation 4, 2016; Kyle Thurman, Suggested Occupation 3, 2016. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 17-September 22, 2019). From left to right: Alexandra Bell, Friday, April 21, 1989 – Front Page, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Friday, April 21, 1989 – Page 2, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Friday, April 21, 1989 – Page 3, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Saturday, April 22, 1989 – Front Page, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Saturday, April 22, 1989 – Page 3, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Saturday, April 22, 1989 – Page 11, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Sunday, April 23, 1989 – Front Page, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Sunday, April 23, 1989 – Page 2, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Sunday, April 23, 1989 – Page 3, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Sunday, April 23, 1989 – Page 35, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Sunday, April 23, 1989 – Page 4, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Sunday, April 23, 1989 – Page 5, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Monday, April 24, 1989 – Front Page, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Monday, April 24, 1989 – Page 3, 2019; Alexandra Bell, Tuesday, April 25, 1989 – Page 5, 2019; Jeffrey Gibson, PEOPLE LIKE US, 2019; Elle Pérez, Bloom, 2019; Elle Pérez, Sable, 2019; Elle Pérez, Jane, 2019; Jeffrey Gibson, STAND YOUR GROUND, 2019. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 17-September 22, 2019). From left to right: Dicko Chan, Untitled, 2018; Emerson Ricard, Untitled, 2018; Simone Leigh, Stick, 2019; Janiva Ellis, Uh Oh, Look Who Got Wet, 2019; Simone Leigh, #8 Village Series, 2019. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 17-September 22, 2019). Carolyn Lazard, Extended Stay, 2019. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 17-September 22, 2019). Daniel Lind-Ramos, Maria-Maria, 2019. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 17-September 22, 2019). Nicole Eisenman, Procession, 2019. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 17-September 22, 2019). From left to right: Tomashi Jackson, Hometown Buffet-Two Blues (Limited Value Exercise), 2019; Ragen Moss, Driver (with Passenger), November 2018; Ragen Moss, Author (with Arm), 2018; Ragen Moss, Theoloogian [sic] (with Torso), 2018; Ragen Moss, Romanettes (with double Hearts), 2018; Ragen Moss, Miner (with Heart), 2019; Ragen Moss, Bullfighter (with one other Bullfighter), 2019; Ragen Moss, Figure (with Arm), 2018; Ragen Moss, Ogler, 2018; Kota Ezawa, National Anthem (The Roar of the Jaguars), 2018. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 17-September 22, 2019). From left to right: Elle Pérez, Bloom, 2019; Elle Pérez, Sable, 2019; Elle Pérez, Jane, 2019; Kota Ezawa, National Anthem, 2018. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 17-September 22, 2019). From left to right: Eric N. Mack, Proposition: for wet Gee’s Bend Quilts to replace the American flag – Permanently., 2019; Jennifer Packer, Untitled, 2019; Jennifer Packer, An Exercise in Tenderness, 2017; Jennifer Packer, Untitled, 2019; Jennifer Packer, A Lesson in Longing, 2019. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 17-September 22, 2019). Korakrit Arunanondchai, with history in a room filled with people with funny names, 2017. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of the Whitney Biennial 2019 (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, May 17-September 22, 2019). From left to right: Iman Issa, Heritage Studies #27, 2017; Milano Chow, Night Exterior III, 2019; Milano Chow, Night Exterior II, 2019; Iman Issa, Heritage Studies #34, 2019; Milano Chow, Night Exterior I, 2019; Iman Issa, Heritage Studies #20, 2016; Pat Phillips, Untitled (Don’t Tread On Me), 2019. Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Eddie Arroyo, 5825 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33137, 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 28 x 36 in. (71.1 x 91.4 cm). Image courtesy the artist and Spinello Projects, Miami. Photograph by Eddie Arroyo

John Edmonds (1989-), Tête d’Homme, 2018. Archival pigment photograph, 24 x 30 in. Image courtesy the artist and Company, New York.

Barbara Hammer, History Lessons, 2000. 16mm film, color, sound, 66:51 min. Image courtesy the artist

Steffani Jemison, Sensus Plenior, 2017. High-definition video, black-and-white, sound; 34:36 min. Image courtesy the artist

Maia Ruth Lee, Bondage Baggage Prototype 4, 2018. Tarp, rope, tape, luggage, used clothing, and bedding, 67 x 35 x 21 in. (170.2 x 88.9 x 53.3 cm). Image courtesy the artist and Jack Hanley Gallery, New York. Photograph by Brad Farwell

Diane Simpson, Lambrequin and Peplum, 2017. Painted fiberboard crayon on polyester, and copper tacks, 109 x 50 x 31 in. (276.9 x 127 x 78.7 cm). Image courtesy the artist; Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; JTT, New York; and Herald St, London. Photograph by Tom Van Eynde

Keegan Monaghan, Incoming, 2016-17. Oil on canvas, 60 3/8 x 72 in. (153.4 x 182.9 cm). Collection of Ninah and Michael Lynne. Image courtesy the artist and James Fuentes Gallery, New York. Photograph by Jason Mandella

Laura Ortman, My Soul Remainer, 2017. High-definition video, color, sound; 5:44 min. Image courtesy the artist

Iman Issa, detail of Heritage Studies #20, 2016. Bronze, painted box, and vinyl text, 49 1/4 x 9 1/8 x 15 in. (125 x 23 x 38 cm). Image courtesy the artist and Rodeo, London; Piraeus, Greece; and carlier gebauer, Berlin. Photograph by Gunter Lepkowski

Curran Hatleberg (1982-), Untitled (Blue Truck), 2016. Inkjet print, 26 x 32 1/2 in. (66 x 82.6 cm). Image courtesy the artist

Walter Price (1989-), The things that horse ourselves for uncertainty, 2018. Acrylic, clear gesso, and vinyl paint on canvas, 58 x 58 in. (147.3 x 147.3 cm). Image courtesy the artist; KARMA, New York; and Modern Institute, Glasgow

Calvin Marcus (1988-), Los Angeles Painting, 2018. Watercolor and vinyl paint on linen, 79 x 101 5/8 in. (200 x 258 cm). Image courtesy the artist; Clearing, New York and Brussels; and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles

Wangechi Mutu, Sentinel I, 2018. Paper pulp, wood glue, concrete, wood, glass beads, stone, rose quartz, gourd, and jewelry, 87 ¾ x 17 ¾ x 22 in. (221 x 43.2 x 55.9 cm). Image courtesy the artist

Marlon Mullen (1963-), Untitled, 2018. Acrylic on canvas, 40 × 52 in. (101.6 × 132.1 cm). Image courtesy NIAD Art Center, Richmond, CA; Adams and Ollman, Portland; and JTT, New York

Mariana Valencia, Futurity, June 2nd, 2019 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph © Paula Court

nibia pastrana santiago. June 7th.Whitney Biennial 2019.Photograph Copyright Paula Court

Brendan Fernandes (1979-), The Master and Form, June 7, 2019. Photo by Paula Court. Performers pictured: Left to right: Mauricio Vera, Amy Saunder, Tiffany Mangulabnan, Tyler Zydel

Morgan Bassichis, June 14th, 2019, at the Whitney Biennial 2019, Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph by Paula Court

Las Nietas de Nonó, June 28, 2019, at the Whitney Biennial 2019, Whitney Museum of American Art. Photograph © Paula Court

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