63 Artists Named for Whitney's 80th Biennial Titled 'Quiet as It's Kept'

  • January 25, 2022 15:24

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Coco Fusco, still from Your Eyes Will Be an Empty Word, 2021. HD video, color, sound; 12 min. Image courtesy the artist and Alexander Gray Associates, New York

The Whitney Museum of American Art has announced that sixty-three artists and collectives will be participating in Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept, co-organized by two Whitney curators, David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards. This will be the eightieth iteration in the long-running series of annual and biennial exhibitions launched by the Museum’s founder, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, in 1932. The 2022 Whitney Biennial takes over most of the Whitney from April 6 through September 5, with portions of the exhibition and some programs continuing through October 23, 2022.

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Breslin and Edwards remarked: “The Whitney Biennial is an ongoing experiment, the result of a shared commitment to artists and the work they do. We began planning for this exhibition, originally slated to open in 2021, almost a year before the 2020 election, before the pandemic and shutdown with their reeling effects, before the uprisings demanding racial justice and before the questioning of institutions and their structures. While many of these underlying conditions are not new, their overlapping, intensity, and sheer ubiquity created a context in which past, present, and future folded into one another. We’ve organized the exhibition to reflect these precarious and improvised times. The Biennial primarily serves as a forum for artists, and the works that will be presented reflect their enigmas, the things that perplex them, the important questions they are asking.”

Ralph Lemon, Untitled, 2021. Oil and acrylic on paper, 26 × 40 in. (66.1 × 101.6 cm). Courtesy the artist

The 2022 Biennial features dynamic contributions that take different forms over the course of the presentation: artworks—even walls—change, and performance animates the galleries and objects. With a roster of artists at all points in their careers, the Biennial surveys the art of these times through an intergenerational group, many with an interdisciplinary perspective, and the curators have chosen not to have a separate performance or video and film program. Rather, these forms are integrated into the exhibition with an equal and consistent presence in the galleries.

Denyse Thomasos, Displaced Burial / Burial at Gorée, 1993. Acrylic on canvas, 108 × 216 in. (274.3 × 548.6 cm). Image courtesy the Estate of Denyse Thomasos and Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto

The majority of the exhibition takes place on the Museum’s fifth and sixth floors, which are counterpoints and act as pendants to one another: one floor is a dark labyrinth, a space of containment; and the other is a clearing, open and light-filled. The former also contains an antechamber, a space of reserve. The dynamics of borders and what constitutes “American” are explored by artists from Mexico, specifically Ciudad Juárez and Tijuana, and First Nations artists in Canada, as well as by artists born outside of North America.

Jacky Connolly, still from Descent into Hell, 2021. Multichannel HD video, color, sound. Courtesy the artist

“Deliberately intergenerational and interdisciplinary, the Biennial proposes that cultural, aesthetic, and political possibility begins with meaningful exchange and reciprocity,” Breslin and Edwards noted. “Rather than proposing a unified theme, we pursue a series of hunches throughout the exhibition: that abstraction demonstrates a tremendous capacity to create, share, and, sometimes withhold, meaning; that research-driven conceptual art can combine the lushness of ideas and materiality; that personal narratives sifted through political, literary, and pop cultures can address larger social frameworks; that artworks can complicate what ‘American’ means by addressing the country’s physical and psychological boundaries; and that our ‘now’ can be reimagined by engaging with under-recognized artistic models and artists we’ve lost.”

Woody De Othello, study for The will to make things happen, 2021. Image courtesy the artist; Jessica Silverman, San Francisco; and Karma, New York

Adam D. Weinberg, the Museum’s Alice Pratt Brown Director, commented: “Curators David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards have been visiting artists over the past two years in search of the most important and relevant work. The 2022 Biennial arrives at a time haunted by a global pandemic and plagued by ongoing racial and economic inequities and polarizing politics. The artists in the exhibition challenge us to consider how these realities affect our senses of self and community and offer one of the broadest and most diverse takes on art in the United States that the Whitney has offered in many years.”

Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, noted, “Throughout this challenging time, it’s been an inspiration and pleasure to watch David and Adrienne curate their edition of the Whitney’s enduring, signature exhibition. Their intellectual chemistry was as evident as the rigor and care they brought to their collaborations with artists. The 2022 Biennial deftly manages to reflect both the spirit of a moment and a deep historical awareness—of art, our society, and the Biennial itself.”

The title of the 2022 Whitney Biennial, Quiet as It's Kept, is a colloquialism. Breslin and Edwards were inspired by the ways novelist Toni Morrison, jazz drummer Max Roach, and artist David Hammons have invoked it in their works. The phrase is typically said prior to something—sometimes obvious—that should be kept secret.

Breslin and Edwards also chose to adorn Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It’s Kept with a symbol: ) (. This inverted set of parentheses is taken from a poem written by N. H. Pritchard in May 1968. The poem’s manuscript is included in the exhibition and is reproduced in full in the exhibition’s catalogue. A highly experimental poet whose visually dynamic, text-based works strongly resemble concrete poetry, Pritchard traversed many different circles in downtown New York, from membership in Umbra—a collective of Black poets that was radical both aesthetically and politically—to the international poetry avant-garde, to the bohemian Greenwich Village of Philip Guston and Allen Ginsberg. “The symbol resonated with us in its gesturing toward openness, beyond what is contained, even toward the uncontainable. We also value its suggestion of interlude or interval,” Breslin and Edwards commented.

The 2022 artists:

Lisa Alvarado
Born 1982 in San Antonio, TX
Lives in Chicago, IL

Harold Ancart
Born 1980 in Brussels, Belgium
Lives in New York, NY

Mónica Arreola
Born 1976 in Tijuana, Mexico
Lives in Tijuana, Mexico

Emily Barker
Born 1992 in San Diego, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Yto Barrada
Born 1971 in Paris, France
Lives in Brooklyn, NY, and Tangier, Morocco

Rebecca Belmore
Born 1960 in Upsala, Canada
Lives in Vancouver, Canada
Anishinaabe

Jonathan Berger
Born 1980 in New York, NY
Lives in New York, NY, and Glover, VT

Nayland Blake
Born 1960 in New York, NY
Lives in Brooklyn and Queens, NY

Cassandra Press
Founded 2016 by Kandis Williams

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
Born 1951 in Busan, South Korea
Died 1982 in New York, NY

Raven Chacon
Born 1977 in Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation
Lives in Albuquerque, NM
Diné

Leidy Churchman
Born 1979 in Villanova, PA
Lives in New York, NY, and West Tremont, ME

Tony Cokes
Born 1956 in Richmond, VA
Lives in Providence, RI

Jacky Connolly
Born 1990 in New York, NY
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Matt Connors
Born 1973 in Chicago, IL
Lives in New York, NY, and Los Angeles, CA

Alex Da Corte
Born 1980 in Camden, NJ
Lives in Philadelphia, PA

Aria Dean
Born 1993 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in New York, NY

Danielle Dean
Born 1982 in Huntsville, AL
Lives in Los Angeles and San Diego, CA

Jane Dickson
Born 1952 in Chicago, IL
Lives in New York, NY

Buck Ellison
Born 1987 in San Francisco, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Alia Farid
Born 1985 in Kuwait City, Kuwait
Lives in San Juan, PR, and Kuwait City, Kuwait

Coco Fusco
Born 1960 in New York, NY
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Ellen Gallagher
Born 1965 in Providence, RI
Lives in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Brooklyn, NY

A Gathering of the Tribes /Steve Cannon
Founded 1991
Steve Cannon: Born 1935 in New Orleans, LA
Died 2019 in New York, NY

Cy Gavin
Born 1985 in Pittsburgh, PA
Lives in New York State

Adam Gordon
Born 1986 in Minneapolis, MN
Lives in Jersey City, NJ

Renée Green
Born 1959 in Cleveland, OH
Lives in Somerville, MA, and New York, NY

Pao Houa Her
Born 1982 in Laos
Lives in Blaine, MN

EJ Hill
Born 1985 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Alfredo Jaar
Born 1956 in Santiago, Chile
Lives in New York, NY

Rindon Johnson Born 1990 in San Francisco, CA
Lives in Berlin, Germany

Ivy Kwan Arce and Julie Tolentino
Ivy Kwan Arce: Born 1965 in Salinas, CA
Lives in New York, NY
Julie Tolentino: Born 1964 in San Francisco, CA
Lives in Joshua Tree, CA

Ralph Lemon
Born 1952 in Cincinnati, OH
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Duane Linklater
Born 1976 in Treaty 9 Territory (Northern Ontario, Canada)
Lives in North Bay, Canada (Robinson Huron Treaty Territory)
Omaskêko Ininiwak

James Little
Born 1952 in Memphis, TN
Lives in New York, NY

Rick Lowe
Born 1961 in rural Alabama
Lives in Houston, TX

Daniel Joseph Martinez
Born 1957 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA, and Paris, France

Dave McKenzie
Born 1977 in Kingston, Jamaica
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Rodney McMillian
Born 1969 in Columbia, SC
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Na Mira
Born 1982 in Lawrence, KS, on Kickapoo, Osage, Kansa, and Sioux lands
Lives in Los Angeles, CA, on Tongva, Gabrielino, Kizh, and Chumash lands

Alejandro “Luperca” Morales
Born 1990 in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Lives in Monterrey, Mexico

Moved by the Motion
Founded 2016 by Wu Tsang and Tosh Basco

Terence Nance
Born 1982 in Dallas, TX
Lives in America

Woody De Othello
Born 1991 in Miami, FL
Lives in Oakland, CA

Adam Pendleton
Born 1984 in Richmond, VA
Lives in New York, NY

N. H. Pritchard
Born 1939 in New York, NY
Died 1996 in eastern Pennsylvania

Lucy Raven
Born 1977 in Tucson, AZ
Lives in New York, NY

Charles Ray
Born 1953 in Chicago, IL
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Jason Rhoades
Born 1965 in Newcastle, CA
Died 2006 in Los Angeles, CA

Andrew Roberts
Born 1995 in Tijuana, Mexico
Lives in Mexico City and Tijuana, Mexico

Guadalupe Rosales
Born 1980 in Redwood City, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Veronica Ryan
Born 1956 in Plymouth, Montserrat
Lives in London, United Kingdom, and New York, NY

Rose Salane
Born 1992 in New York, NY
Lives in Queens, NY

Michael E. Smith
Born 1977 in Detroit, MI
Lives in Providence, RI

Sable Elyse Smith
Born 1986 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in New York, NY

Awilda Sterling-Duprey
Born 1947 in San Juan, PR
Lives in San Juan, PR

Rayyane Tabet
Born 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon
Lives in Beirut, Lebanon, and San Francisco, CA

Denyse Thomasos
Born 1964 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Died 2012 in New York, NY

Trinh T. Minh-ha
Born in Hanoi, Vietnam
Lives in Berkeley, CA

WangShui
Born 1986 in USA
Lives in New York, NY

Eric Wesley
Born 1973 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Dyani White Hawk
Born 1976 in Madison, WI
Lives in Minneapolis, MN
Sičangu Lakota

Kandis Williams
Born 1985 in Baltimore, MD
Lives in Los Angeles, CA and Brooklyn, NY


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