Though secure in its role as a leading art museum in the world, The Whitney Museum of never rests on its vast garden of laurels. With the art landscape fundamentally altered during the deepest portions of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Whitney has weathered on, celebrating this year, once again, its annual Studio Party and latest survey of American art, Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept.
This endlessly dynamic museum, now a fixture in its Meatpacking District location, has drawn crowds back with health-conscious policies along with the groundbreaking art included in its survey. The Biennial has become an institution in itself, having been curated on behalf of The Whitney since 1932. For 2022, the Biennial is a communal effort, with almost every aspect crowdsourced and sensitively curated with respect to the physical and psychological boundaries presented by a pandemic.
Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept is co-organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Initiatives, and Adrienne Edwards, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, with Mia Matthias, and Almeida Baroja supporting this grand effort.
What will strike viewers is how intergenerational and interdisciplinary this exhibition is, sixty-three artists and collectives. The spaces of the Biennial contrast significantly, acknowledging the acute polarity of our society. One floor is a labyrinth, a dark space of containment; another is a clearing, open and light filled.
The Biennial is exciting because it is so of the time. In its eightieth iteration, the Biennial continues to function as an ongoing experiment, where it must be encountered by today’s population. That includes the interactions with the work, intentionally or not. Modern education, domesticity and global birthplaces define this year’s Whitney Biennial output.
Of course, none of the Whitney Biennial (or any of the exhibitions) can happen without support. Returning for in-person experience, the Whitney Museum of American Art Gala celebrated Thelma Golden, the director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, Susan Hess, a distinguished Whitney trustee, and artist Glenn Ligon.
Attendees included Seth Meyers and Karlie Kloss, artists Maurizio Cattelan, Rashid Johnson, and Jeff Koons. Guests including Derek Fordjour, Ivy Getty, Julie Mehretu, Adam Pendleton, and Kennedy Yanko made their way to nearby Genesis House for an after party featuring three floors of entertainment space, including a particularly bouncy set by DJ Aku in the downstairs club and a relaxing library-like atmosphere in the upstairs restaurant, curated by Onjium.
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