Trip to Whitney Museum of American Art: Whitney Biennial 2014, 3/26/14

Post by Delana, Exploring the Arts intern

On Wednesday, March 26th, Art Ready students went to see the Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art. The Whitney Museum has one of the world’s foremost collections of modern and contemporary American art. The Biennial exhibition happens every two years and what’s exciting is that this is the last year it’ll be at the Whitney’s current space before the museum moves downtown to a new building. Also most of the work in the Biennial is usually from artists in New York but this year there are a few non- New Yorkers in the exhibit. There were three curators this year who had full creative design each on their own floor. In contrast past Biennials were organized collectively by multiple curators. The curator names were Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner.

As Art Ready students and teachers got settled in the museum we split up into two groups. Each group received a tour by student guides from the Whitney’s teen Youth Insights Program. I was in group two chaperoned by Art Ready Mentor Natalia Nakazawa. In our group we went around in a circle and introduced ourselves and got an introduction to the Whitney Museum.

What I liked about the Biennial exhibition was that each floor reflected a different curator with a different style. Even while moving to different floors, in the staircase there was art which I loved; there was sound coming from it that sounded creepy. One piece that stood out to me the most was this sculpture on the 3rd floor by Ken Okiishi (picture below).

As you can see it’s a flat screen T.V that was painted all over. Our tour guide said that the artist went to an exhibition of painter Joan Mitchell and got inspired. My group had a lot to say about this piece. Some said that the paint was covering the lies that they tell on T.V; some said technology is this generation’s canvas. Well this piece made me question whether paintings have to be on canvases. Our group conversation became a debate of, “Is it a sculpture?”, or “Is it a painting?” I like this artwork because it’s new and it’s fresh. It gives artists and people so many ideas and questions.

Overall the Biennial was a great experience to see different types of contemporary art. Each floor had such a different theme and even though we didn’t get to see all the art on each floor, I would definitely go again and bring my friends.

Below: more images from the trip (click on each image to see a description)



About smartready

Mentorship Program Manager, Smack Mellon
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