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March 02, 2006

2006 Whitney Biennial Members Preview

First off.. Who knew The Whitney had so many god damn members??  Whenever I've been to the Whitney Museum, it's almost always empty!  Well... We, and like 1000+ other members, waited in the freakin cold for what seemed like "Day and Nights." This ??  Just to get into the typically uninteresting preview opening for the Whitney Biennial 2006 "Day for Night" Show last night.

By 8:30pm, the line stretched around 2 city blocks.. that's right..!! Not 1.. but 2+ full city blocks!! So by the time we got in.. it was insanely crowded.. the coat check looked like something out of a Barney's Warehouse Sale.  Plus, we only saw the first, and half the second floor's of the show before the over whelmed guards pushed everyone back out into the cold.

So... Picture_022Here's a picture of the sidewalk, and a cool piece of chromed disassembled bicycle parts, not sure who's the artist. But, this is where we spent most of the night.. freezing our butts off!! I was numb (not in a good way) by the time we got inside.

Well..it may have been worth the wait and hypothermia.  Much to my surprise, even from what little I got to see..the show is very interesting and engaging.  Not at all what I expected from a Biennial!  Lot's of artists were new and refreshing to me, but the works all had a well connected feel.  It was not just a big kitchen soup of gallery hyped art like some of the past Biennials. One small negative.. There was very little photography.. but hey.. you can't please everyone!  What?  No Loretta Lux, No Ruud Van Empel, No John Currin, No Mike Kelley, No Gregory Crewdson, No Andres Serrano, No Richard Prince, No Damien Hirst..Etc... ?? Wow.. How Refreshing!!

In the lobby of the 3rd floor was this sculpture by Liz Larner, RWB's, 2005... I'm not sure if it was my camera, cause it just seemed like one big blur to me!!  Well, we were pushed out so fast into the damn stairwell..  I barely had a chance to see it!Picture_026

In the lobby of the second floor was this neon lit covered wagon. Actually pretty cool.. again not sure who the artist was.. since it was jammed, and I couldn't find the wall label.Picture_024

They have some really cool video's. I loved the Gore Vidal Caligula film trailer by Italian artist (I thought the WB was all about American Art?) Francesco Vezzoli. In this age of American obsessed media and TV.. this piece takes a refreshingly funny stab at our Hollywood Celebrity Crazed Cinema. Plus it's got a very fitting ending by none other than Courtney Love.. it doesn't get any more kitchy than this! I loved it! This weekend Linda Yablonsky of The NY Times gave a detailed report of the work with some funny comments by Mr. Vezzoli's

The Kranky Klaus, 2002 color video (26 minutes)by Cameron Jamie was mesmerizing. You just have to love his horned hairy goat people roaming the Austrian countryside, and their pagan myth of Krampus. It's not exactly for the UES prudish moviegoer, but, I'll have to go back to see the rest of this one.

Other standouts... The Zoe Strauss slide show.  Don't miss it!  Her gritty South Philadelphia Inner City Photography has all the beauty, wit, and sensations of Alec Soth's wonderful Mississippi work from the last Whitney Biennial.

Lastly the 2 large Kelley Walker digital prints on canvas were suggestive of classic silk screened Warhols, but with a very different twist.  These pieces are not slick clean lined-up TV icons, but he's spun them around, and tarnished the media images with stains of chocolate syrup. Giving the work a bruised trampled feel of some dark underground world.

All I can say.. I'll have to go back to see the rest of the show.. and Shame on The Whitney for giving out way too many invitations to last night's event.  Making your supporting members wait hours out in the cold for the preview was foolish, unnecessary, but I guess it's better than waiting out in the snow like people will be doing today!

Some 2006 Whitney Biennial Reviews are already out (I'll add more as I find them)...

  1. Jerry Saltz of the Voice,
  2. Lance Esplund of The NY Sun,
  3. "Red, White and Bleak," Washington Post by Blake Gopnik
  4. Michael Kimmelman NYT, "Biennial 2006 : Short on Pretty, Long on Collaboration"
  5. Linda Yablonsky, Download File Blommberg News


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You could have gottten a press pass for the Tuesday preview.

Ok.. Mark.. thanks for the suggestion..
But How does a blogger (who's most clearly not a professional writer) go about getting a press pass?

Apply at the press office to what ever exhit your interested in writing about.

dude, it's jerry saltz. not salts.

Lump.. thanks.. I got a bit careless with the spell-checker.

the sculpture outside the entrance is from aaron young

I guess working at a library brings the worst out in me. I like your blog a lot.

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