Whitney Biennial

I read this quote in the Chicago Tribune’s article posted a couple days ago on one of the Whitney Biennial curators, Michelle Grabner, who lives and works in Chicago:

There are about 100 artists in the show (typically it presents lesser-known artists). She invited more than 50; the others about 25 each. Her search took her to scores of studios, nearly every corner of the country. And in the end, she personally knows more than half of her Biennial invitees.

 As if answering their probable thoughts, Grabner continued: She offers this information upfront because she wanted the process of curating a show as important as the Biennial to be transparent. In other words, she wanted people to know it is not fair: “I was looking for artists who influence art today, and influence me.” Many of the artists she invited are friends, some were students, some teachers, some Art Institute colleagues. Eight of the 17 Chicagoans in the show are her picks, though not because they are from Chicago, she stressed.

The whole article’s worth a read if you’re into that kind of stuff (and I’m assuming you are, since you’re here), but I especially like this quote because it’s very upfront and brutally honest.  And I love brutally honest.  This can really be applied to any area of life, right?  If you know the right people, life becomes easier.  Likewise, if you don’t happen to know the right people at the right time, it will work against you.  There’s an element of chance to everything, which is I suppose what makes life interesting and makes everything an uncertainty.

Along these same lines, one of the works included in the show is an off-site piece by Tony Tasset, here’s the image and a quote from the Biennial website:

Tony Tasset, Artists Monument, 2014. Etched acrylic mounted on steel and wood. Collection of the artist; courtesy Kavi Gupta, Chicago

Tony Tasset, Artists Monument, 2014. Etched acrylic mounted on steel and wood. Collection of the artist; courtesy Kavi Gupta, Chicago

The multicolored acrylic panels that adorn Tasset’s Artists Monument are etched with the names of 392,486 modern and contemporary artists, ranging from Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol to emerging artists with a single exhibition to their credit. By building this pointedly horizontal monument in public space, with the artists’ names listed alphabetically and the colors arranged randomly, Tasset symbolically flattens the hierarchies that exist between lauded and unknown artists and instead celebrates the entire community. Artists Monument is in part a playful response to the perceived exclusivity of art world exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial.

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