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Whitney Biennial 2014, New York – Third Floor

How to define “American” in a survey of contemporary American art, especially one with as much history behind it as the Whitney Biennial, is a question that has often challenged, even vexed, curators. As an American who has spent much of the last thirteen years in the United Kingdom, I have been compelled by artists whose work is as hybrid as the significant global, environmental, and technological shifts reshaping the United States.

The work I have brought together for the Biennial reflects this, whether through complex relationships between linguistic and visual forms; the interface of digital technologies with more traditional media, and the recorded past with the lived moment; the development of two-dimensional scores, scripts, and patterns into three- or even four-dimensional actions and environments; the challenging of binary conventions of gender; or the intricacy of cosmopolitan, cross-national identities. Ideas about migration and movement are raised here too, as are those related to a position (geographic or otherwise) at a kind of periphery, off the mainland so to speak. The surfaces and spaces of the gallery respond in kind, playing multiple roles—from white cube to theater to cinema to publishing forum, and sometimes all of these at once.

Stuart Comer

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On the Third Floor: Etel Adnan, Ei Arakawa and Carissa Rodriguez, Uri Aran, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Julie Ault, Kevin Beasley, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, Morgan Fisher, Tony Greene curated by Richard Hawkins and Catherine Opie, Channa Horwitz, Travis Jeppesen, Yve Laris Cohen, Fred Lonidier, Dashiell Manley, Keith Mayerson, Bjarne Melgaard, Ken Okiishi, Miljohn Ruperto, Jacolby Satterwhite, Semiotext(e), A. L. Steiner, Triple Canopy

In Other Locations: Kevin Beasley, Andrew Bujalski, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Véréna Paravel, and Sensory Ethnography Lab, Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, Radamés “Juni” Figueroa, Pauline Oliveros, Sergei Tcherepnin

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at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

until 25 may 2014

Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, Relationship, 2011

Jacolby Satterwhite, “Transit,” Video Still from Reifying Desire 6, 2014

Ken Okiishi, gesture/data, 2013

Etel Adnan, December From My Window, 1993

Etel Adnan, Five Senses for One Death, 1969

Tony Greene, His Puerile Gestures, 1989

Keith Mayerson, My Family, 2013

Dashiell Manley, Scene 3 Version B  2, 2013

Dashiell Manley, Scene 3 Version C, 2013

Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, Leviathan, 2012

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Whitney Biennial installation view, New York, 2014

Courtesy: The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Photo: Sheldan C. Collins.

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