Shit We Saw at The 2012 Whitney Biennial
OK, so we know The Whitney Biennial 2012 closed months ago. And we know we should have told you on our blog about the shit we saw right when we returned from the ‘Special Friends of The Whitney Biennial Preview Party’ that we, The Biennial Project, attended. Well if that bothers you - ‘Eat Us’ (we’ll enjoy it). This can only mean that you have not gone on our Facebook page and joined ‘liked’ The Biennial Project Page because we did report on the exhibit there. So that this doesn’t happen again please like us at:
In presenting ‘The Shit we Saw Whitney Biennial 2012 Edition’ we would like to add the precursor that some of what is written are our own opinions and words and some of the text we used has been lifted directly from other people’s articles. We do not know anymore where most of this came from because we keep terrible track of our footnotes. If we plagiarized you please take this as the compliment that it is meant to be. It means we like your voice - imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?
Anyhow let’s start off by mentioning Tom Thayer’s reddish room of puppets and crane paintings. These make him a modern mythographer by way of William Kentridge and Balinese shadow-plays. Thayer’s work lyrically combines elements frail and feeble in nature, crudely parroting reality, in an effort to reveal the poetry that underlies our own existence. The very kind lady in the wheelchair pictured below told us all of that. She also said his work feels most at home alongside the ostensibly shambolic music of freewheeling experimental Brooklyn groups like the No-Neck Blues Band and Amolvacy. She then asked if we would kiss her pineapple. We liked the portable children's record players so much we bought one on EBay later that week. They turn and make playful music from playful record albums. So much fun!!
Next let us visit the exhibition of Dawn Casper who set up her studio on the 4th floor of The Whitney for the duration of the show. She made a deep statement about society not supporting artists or something like that, or maybe just the bad economy in general, we’re not entirely sure. She is very smart. What a great way to get free rent and great exposure for a few months. Everybody asks her where she goes to the bathroom. They ask all day, really. The Biennial Project didn't ask her where she goes potty. We simply asked her to sign one of the 'Limited Edition Whitney Biennial 76 Artists Trading Cards' we made of her, to honor her Whitney Biennial Achievement. She almost signed, then read that we listed her old LA address on her card and was like totally freaked out because some of her friends, who according to Dawn, are nice girls, are living there now. I mean we got this address off the Internet. If we wanted to stalk Dawn we know where to find her. She can be found at THE FUCKING WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART where she works everyday. The stupid little docent even told her not to do anything she didn't “feel comfortable with”. Really! Like we were going to watch her TAKE A DUMP or something. REALLY!!
Next we thought Fluid Employment by Sam Lewitt was neato!! He directs ferroliquid across a magnetic plane, shaping bubbles on a darkly oiled path.
There is little explanation accompanying the work. This nice Tibetan Monk pictured below told us that the title’s significance, in lieu of Kasper and Frazier’s work, may suggest a quest for direction and connection in a world low on fiscal fuel. We just thought it was really rad because it moved and changed shapes and seemed a little toxic and dangerous. Also The Biennial Project enjoys chemicals, A LOT!!
The Biennial Project loves a 'What the Fuck Moment'. Kate Levant gave this to us. You all probably remember when in September 2009 Kate set up a Blood Drive at Zach Flreur Gallery in NYC. This was really cool but Biennial Project member Eric felt left out because he still, in the good old US of A can not donate blood because he is a man who 'sleeps' with other men’. All this even though he is HIV negative and isn't nearly as slutty in his 40s as he was in his 20s
Kate Levant scavenged the materials for her 2012 Biennial installation from a burned-down house in inner-city Detroit; an area often associated with economic distress and daunting foreclosure rates. Sheets of foil insulation lining, cardboard, and other materials found in the insect-infested ruins are transformed into a strange, visually powerful sculpture that suggests the eternal oscillation
between life and death. Each element strikes a tenuous balance between cohesion and dispersion, disintegration and growth. Describing these components as “wrecked, still trying to contend,” Levant sees this makeshift sculpture as a reflection of the landscape of Detroit, which amid its crumbling structures and faltering social systems is mutating into something new and unknown.
Kate likes cooking. She likes making soup from scratch, especially stock. She also likes making funky salads. She is quite prolific. "Kate Levant takes audience participation to a new level.” She like breaking things …for the physical act and for the result. Kate likes cleaning things up and packaging things. If she could be anywhere doing anything right now she might be in Houston with her friend Jacques sipping syrup, driving a convertible, and letting off firecrackers. Her junior year Kate dressed up like an Ewok. They’re awesome. A group of little dudes that can’t communicate but are like, “What’s up!”
The psychedelic, avant-garde rock band from Houston, Texas, RED CRAYOLA, performed on April 13th but we and any other visitor were able to talk to them live in The Whitney. They were so COOL!! The band was once paid ten dollars to stop a performance in Berkeley. When we returned in May they were still there, very tired but still speaking to strangers.
We were hoping that Kai Althoff's work would be more homoerotic sexy. We like to be a little turned on when looking at art. A half woody or semi in a museum is sort of pleasurable after all. His piece shown here looked different each time we went. Granted it was cool looking, but we once again were not part of the in crowd who knows when all the dam performances and movies were to take place at this Biennial. We live in Boston and New York is like 4 hours away (3 if Anna drives). They did give us a schedule and posted it online and everything but we can't even get to work on time let alone get to NYC to see thousands of performances.
Anyhow, Kai Althoff neither owns nor rents a studio.
Kai Althoff's paintings, installations, and mise-en-scènes reflect a struggle with complex and dialectical notions of love and hate, sexuality, and interior and exterior worlds. The German artist Kai Althoff is a second-generation Neo-Expressionist storyteller whose works constitute what might be called a scattered surrealist symphony of both youthful anomie and bohemian optimism. He is most notorious for vibrant, vaguely homoerotic scenes that could have been painted by the love child of Edouard Vuillard and Egon Schiele
We are sure Mayra Davey is a very nice lady and all but these mailed photographs seemed like something we did in art school. WE also can see them anytime we want at Boston’s ICA. We liked what famous Czech painter and sculptor Bo Petran said -"Big fucking deal”.
Lutz Bacher’s “Pipe Organ” (2009-11) evinces a distrust of modern technology via an aging Yamaha synthesizer organ tinnily played by robotic apparatus. The organ is decked out with huge tin pipes that bring to mind missile shells.
We spotted Lutz outside with her gallerist and we did not take her photo because she does not like her photo taken. Even The Biennial Project can play nice with people who play nice with us. Sometimes.
Hometown Boston boy Luther Price’s work!! He is neighbors with Anna in Revere, MA and often comes over for green tea and small town gossip, but it is a totally unfounded rumor that they are lovers. Wicked Sick!!
We spent some time with Werner Herzog’s five-screen digital projection of details from etchings by Hercules Segers; We enjoyed the visuals and cello music performed by Ernst Reijseger enough but we were more happy to rest our tired, dirty, throbbing feet and grab a five minute nap in this chamber of solitude.
Wu Tsangs installation and movie was our favorite thing at the whole biennial and she/he is not only one of our favorite artists but also one of our favorite personalities and LGBT leaders. We'd love to tell you more about the work but we're tired of writing for tonight and want to watch TV. We'll fill you in later.
XXOO, The Biennial Project