(Roland Flexner, SN2, 2006)
The Whitney Biennial is already a week old, so it’s really too late for me to chime in with my opinion. If I were really on it, I’d tell you about the Armory, which hasn’t even opened yet.
What’s more, strong, satisfying words on the WhiBi have already been put out by Christian Viveros-Fauné in the Voice and also Peter Shjleldaldalj (couldn't find the link) in the New Yorker. I can’t say it better than they do, really, but to sum it up: most of the art in the show is either gutless or brainy. If the curators are indeed drawing a parallel to Obama’s first year, as they propose, well… (although I personally like brainy in my politicians, but bring on the guts, please.)
Having not really said anything yet in this post, I should add that my favorite pieces in the WB (I’m trying to invent a good acronym) are:
Alex Hubbard’s painting-video in which he resurfaces a Ford and what’s behind it, turning the video frame into a canvas or piece of paper. I like my lively in art.
Also, Huma Bhabha’s cobbled together detritus. It’ visceral and primitive, and therefore stands out in the staid selection of work.
Finally, I liked Roland Flexner’s small, other-worldly drawings made by dipping the paper into water with ink on its surface. I think they get lost because of their size – and they might be a bit like illustrations. But at least there’s something to really look at.