The Whitney Museum of American Art’s core mission is “to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time…” Its Whitney Biennial is the most important survey of the state of contemporary art in the United States and is one of the most talked-about exhibitions in the world. The next Biennial goes on view in spring 2017 and will be presented by Tiffany & Co.
The core of the Whitney’s mission is to serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists themselves, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is new and influential in American art today.
About The Whitney Biennial 2017
With a history of exhibiting the most promising and influential artists, the Whitney Biennial is the longest continuous series of exhibitions in the country to survey recent developments in American art. The 2017 Biennial will be the first one held in the Whitney Museum location in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District which opened in 2015.
“The formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society are among the key themes reflected in the work of the artists selected for the 2017 Whitney Biennial. The exhibition includes sixty-three participants, ranging from emerging to well-established individuals and collectives working in painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, film and video, photography, activism, performance, music, and video game design.” ~ Whitney Museum website
About Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Founder
Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875−1942) was an artist and philanthropist who founded the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1930. She was also an early and ardent supporter of modern American art who nurtured groundbreaking artists at a time when audiences were still largely preoccupied with the Old Masters.
From her vision eight decades ago the museum has continued to champion the most innovative art of the United States. The museum houses the foremost collection of American art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
While visiting Europe in the early 1900s, Gertrude Whitney discovered the burgeoning art world of Montmartre and Montparnasse in France. What she saw encouraged her to pursue her creativity and become a sculptor.
She studied at the Art Students League of New York with Hendrik Christian Andersen and James Earle Fraser. Other women students in her classes included Anna Vaughn Hyatt and Malvina Hoffman. In Paris she studied with Andrew O’Connor and also received criticism from Auguste Rodin in Paris. Her training with sculptors of public monuments influenced her later direction. Although her catalogs include numerous smaller sculptures, she is best known today for her monumental works. (Source: Wikipedia)
Meet The Whitney Museum Biennial 2017 Co-Curators
Christopher Y. Lew is Associate Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where he has organized the first U.S. solo exhibitions for Rachel Rose and Jared Madere. He has also organized, with Curator and Curator of Performance Jay Sanders, the first U.S. theatrical presentation by New Theater. His upcoming exhibitions at the Whitney include a solo show by Sophia Al-Maria (summer 2016).
Prior to joining the Whitney in 2014, he held positions at MoMA PS1 since 2006. Lew has contributed to several publications including Art AsiaPacific, Art Journal, Bomb, Huffington Post, and Mousse. He received an award from the International Association of Art Critics.
Mia Locks was Assistant Curator at MoMA PS1, where she organized exhibitions including Math Bass: Off the Clock (2015); IM Heung-soon: Reincarnation (2015); and Samara Golden: The Flat Side of the Knife (2014).
Prior to MoMA PS1, Locks organized Cruising the Archive: Queer Art and Culture in Los Angeles, 1945–1980 (2012), with David Frantz, at ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives as part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time initiative. She worked at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA).
She is currently publishing a book on the work of Samara Golden, forthcoming in December 2015.
The Biennial Plans to Be Lively and Groundbreaking
Comments About The Co-Curators
The Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director Adam D. Weinberg noted: “Every Whitney Biennial is a galvanizing process for the Museum, a tradition that goes back to the institution’s roots while retaining its freshness and immediacy. Endeavoring to gauge the state of art in America today, the Biennial demands curators who are attuned to the art of the current moment and there is no question that Chris Lew and Mia Locks have their fingers on the pulse. The expanded spaces and possibilities offered by our new downtown building will make this Biennial particularly lively and groundbreaking.”
Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, said, “Chris’s keen eye has been critical to this renewed focus in our program, which just launched with his presentations of Jared Madere, Rachel Rose, and New Theater. Mia’s interest in both historical figures and new tendencies, as well her years on the West Coast will add important perspective to the Biennial. The two of them have great intellectual chemistry, and it’s exciting to see the first Biennial in our new home in the hands of such talented young curators.”
Visit the Whitney Museum of American Art’s website www.whitney.org
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