In the midst of election season, an exhibition exploring the use of American vernacular imagery and style is particularly apt. The interest in folk art, as with folk tales, is historically associated with nationalism and the search for originary stories that always involve a lot of white-washing, if not outright fictions. In the U.S. the far right is always ready to raise the flag and other symbols associated with 19th century, white, agrarian society – the real America. Americanana, organized by Katy Siegel for the Bertha and Karl Leubsdorf Art Gallery, Hunter college (through Dec. 4, 2010) includes thirteen artists ... More » »
Now in its 75th go-round, The Whitney Biennial is still the big kahuna, the show every American artist wants to be in and every art lover wants to see. This year the career-boosting show includes no Philadelphia artist. We had representation in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008 — so much for that trend. Instead, the curators went to Chicago, Oregon, Los Angeles and, of course, New York for the 55 artists, more than half of them women (a first) and many of them under the national radar.
Quiet, a little sad, introspective, and not a lot of beauty. Those are how I’d sum up this year’s Whitney Biennial, now celebrating its 75th edition. After the ebullient excess of 2008, in which more than 80 artists exploded beyond the bounds of the museum, taking up residence in the nearby armory, and pock marking Central Park, a mere 55 artists certainly reflects a societal time of retrenchment and self-reassessment. It’s as if America is no longer the youthful shiny penny it used to be. Well, that would be right. It’s not. And this is the Whitney Biennial that reflects ... More » »