What’s that smell in the air that’s been wafting as of late? Is it the onset of spring? Nope, it’s the Whitney Biennial! Once again, it is time for the ever-ambitious, always-criticized exhibition that attempts to summarize two years of American contemporary art. Only this time, it’s not so contemporary, and it’s not totally American. Whereas the 2010 edition blazed with a newfound national energy showing tightly-focused selections from American artists, the 2012 biennial confounds expectations with artists young and old, local and not, and an overall mood of dark confusion.
Most Appropriate Adjective: Weird. Curators Elisabeth Sussman and Jay Sanders have described this biennial as taking inspiration from “old, weird America.” The show does have a funky air to it, the creepiness of an old blues song, maybe, mixed with a certain Midwestern-suburban angst and the hopeless darkness of unlit highways. Lutz Bacher’s printed book pages picturing galactic phenomena, “The Celestial Handbook,” are sprinkled throughout like punctuation marks, lending the event a certain alien quality that tickles the subconscious.
For a complete list of Kyle Chayka‘s picks for Art Info click here.