this issue contains
>> Freisteller / Whitney Biennale 2008 / Miwa Yanagi in Huston
>> Cai Guo Qiang / Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win

>> archive


An Art Laboratory in New York
Deutsche Bank supports the Whitney Biennial

Rita Ackermann, Black Out, 2007
Collection of the artist;
courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York,
and Peter Kilchmann Galerie, Zurich

It's regarded as the most important platform for contemporary American art, and it always provides ample food for debate. The Whitney Biennial registers current tendencies on the American art scene like a seismograph. From March 6 to June 1, 2008, the comprehensive show can be seen on four of the five floors of the Whitney Museum. For the first time, the historical Park Avenue Armory presents part of the Biennial.

Sherrie Levine, Body Mask, 2007,
Collection of the artist;
courtesy of the Paula Cooper Gallery, New York

From March 6 to March 23, performances, film showings, concerts, and even a dancing marathon will take place there. After Deutsche Bank made the completion of Pierre Huyghe's Biennial work A Journey that Wasn't possible in 2006, it has once again committed itself to sponsoring this year's new and commissioned works at the New York show.

Gardar Eide Einarsson, Judge,
Installation view Team Gallery, New York, 2007

"The Biennial is a laboratory," as Donna De Salvo, head curator of the Whitney Museum, says, "a way of 'taking the temperature' of what is happening now and putting it on view. It influences our thinking on multiple levels and, for the Whitney, translates directly into the choices we make about our exhibitions and collections. In dealing with the art of the present, there are no easy assessments, only multiple points of entry."

Karen Kilimnik, The castle great staircase, Scotland, 2007
Collection of The Stephanie and Peter Brant Foundation

In this regard, the show constitutes a highly heterogeneous selection of 81 artists that presents many newcomers alongside established artists, such as Sherrie Levine, the pioneer of Appropriation Art whose relevance remains unbroken, Mary Heilmann, whose abstract paintings have resisted categorization since the 1970s or Karen Kilimnik, who debuts a "Minimalist" installation with four recent paintings and a chandelier.

Phoebe Washburn, Regulated Fool's Milk Meadow,
Deutsche Guggenheim 2007 Installation view,
Photo: Mathias Schormann,
©Phoebe Washburn, Deutsche Guggenheim

The Whitney Biennial exerts a ripple effect. Many artists that show here are expected to become known worldwide later on. This is certainly to be expected from young stars like Gardar Eide Einarsson or Seth Price, for instance, or from Phoebe Washburn, whose installations of recycled materials have already attracted international attention. Last year, the New York artist created her object collage Regulated Fool's Milk Meadow at the Deutsche Guggenheim.

Mika Rottenberg, Still aus Cheese, 2007,
Collection of the artist

Mika Rottenberg also became a name on the New York scene in record time; at the 2006 London Frieze Art Fair , Rottenberg won the Cartier Award for her absurd video installations. Her new work Cheese circles around the seven Sutherland Sisters, who performed as human circus attractions with their fabulously long hair. Anyone seeking to rest from this excursion through contemporary American art is well advised to seek out the Armory, where DJ Olive will be setting up a Red Cross tent. Visitors can lie on cots and listen to his ambient composition Sleeping Pill – and recharge for more of the Biennial.

[1] [2] [3]