Whitney Biennial: What is American art?
March 11, 2014, Author Jason Farago writes about the Whitney Museum of American Art's 77th Biennial in Greenwich, England. The museum, known for exhibiting living American artists, was founded to showcase primarily the New York art scene in 1932. The previous biennials have included Jackson Pollock in 1946, challenging works from the vanguard of minimalism and conceptualism in the 60's, and the 1993 biennial showed politically themed art referencing the US's problems with race, class, gender, sexuality, the AIDS crisis, imperialism and poverty occurring during the rise of the Clinton Administration. This year, they are showcasing three artists from the US: Sheila Hicks, Susan Howe, and Bjarne Melgaard. During the show's multiple opening receptions, critics reviewed it as “deeply dissatisfying,” “generic, noncommittal, straitlaced,” “damningly mum about politics,” and “overly neat and likeable, scarcely messy or funny or challenging.”
With this being said, Jason Farago asks the question: What is contemporary art in the United States now?
While reading this article, I thought back to the exercise we did in class in which we had to think of American landmarks, cultures, and heritage for UNESCO to preserve, and how each group had different ideas of what is American. It is really hard to point out what america's culture is, as we are a massive conglomerate of immigrant cultures, and this could be a reason why there isn't an advancement or development stylistically toward American contemporary art.
For more information on the Whitney Museum of American Art's 77th biennial, click here.