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The Whitney Biennial 2019
Member Preview days:
May 14-16 // 12 – 5 pm
Preview Night:
May 14 // 7:30–10 pm
Opening Reception:
May 15  // 8–10 pm
Open to the public:
May 17- September 22
The Whitney Museum

The Whitney Museum of American Art opened their annual Biennial on May 13-16 for a preview and will open to the public from May 17- September 22. Seventy-five artists were selected to present their work in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. Considered the country’s foremost survey of contemporary American art, the Whitney Biennial delivers a frontline report on what’s happening in American art today. Curators Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley have been visiting artists over the past year in search of the most important and relevant work.

Artist Ragen Moss, Artwork featured at the THE WHITNEY BIENNIAL 2019.

The 2019 Whitney Biennial is the seventy-ninth installment of the longest-running survey of recent American art. Often described as a snapshot of art in the United States, the Biennial brings together work by individuals and collectives in a broad array of mediums. Featuring seventy-five artists working in painting, sculpture, installation, film and video, photography, performance, and sound, the 2019 Biennial takes the pulse of the contemporary artistic moment. Introduced by the Museum’s founder Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, the Biennial is the longest-running exhibition in the country to chart the latest developments in American art.

Artist Heji Shin, Artwork featured at the THE WHITNEY BIENNIAL 2019.

Although much of the work presented is steeped in sociopolitical concerns, the cumulative effect is open-ended and hopeful. Key issues and approaches emerge across the exhibition: the mining of history as a means to reimagine the present or future; a profound consideration of race, gender, and equity; and explorations of the vulnerability of the body. Concerns for community appear in the content and social engagement of the work and also in the ways that the artists navigate the world. Many of the artists included emphasize the physicality of their materials, whether in sculptures assembled out of found objects, heavily worked paintings, or painstakingly detailed drawings. An emphasis on the artist’s hand suggests a rejection of the digital and the related slick, packaged presentation of the self in favor of more individualized and idiosyncratic work. While we were organizing this exhibition, broader debates in the public sphere surfaced at the Museum, which itself became the site and subject of protest, as it has been throughout its history. Fundamental to the Whitney’s identity is its openness to dialogue, and the conversations that have occurred here and across the country became a productive lens through which to synthesize our own looking, thinking, and self-questioning. —Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley, co-curators

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