A Whitney for you and me – enjoyable, lyrical, musical!

Not a whimper of controversy surrounds this year’s Whitney Biennial. It’s an uptown show to the New Museum’s downtown triennial. If there’s activism, it’s in the curatorial choice to dedicate a humongous amount of space and time to performance for music and dance. And if there’s politics, it’s mostly about art, in the commissioned essay by artist Andrea Fraser, whose point is that everyone in the art world is compromised via money and insider politics, and yet that might make the art world the perfect place for art on the subject of money, politics and complicity.  (The photographs and videos also delved into politics–about the real world, not necessarily the art world, but they didn’t dominate the show).

Lutz Bacher, Pipe Organ, tin, paint, speakers, wire and yamaha organ. Four pipes: 144x8x8″ each, organ 40 x 48 x 24″

Everywhere in the exhibit, there’s music and theater in the air, with a pipe organ (with digital sounds), a player piano (jazz), and a multi-channel video projection by Werner Herzog with a lovely and elegaic classical music accompaniment.  (See video clips of the musical pieces at YouTube).  But good news art object lovers–

Vincent Fecteau, Untitled, 2011, gypsum cement, resin clay, and synthetic polymer paint, 16x24x23 1/2″


Andrew Masullo, installation shot–there were 
Andrew Masullo, 5244, 2010, oil on canvas, 22 x 28 in., one of 34 paintings–enough for a solo show within the show, and an expression of curatorial enthusiasm, which we would like to second while dreams of Nozkowski dance in our heads.

This year’s Biennial has actual objects to love! Paintings, lots of them! Sculptures on pedestals!

Forrest Bess, No. 6, 1959, oil on canvas, 17.26 inches captures a Star Trek moment from his dreams


Forrest Bess, untitled (no. 5), 1949, oil on canavas, 10 x 12 7/8 inches; the Bess paintings and installation was curated by artist Robert Gober

There is a mini painting show — a room of paintings by visionary artist Forrest Bess, curated by Robert Gober. The conversation between the Besses and the Andrew Masullo paintings is unmistakable; and two of the Bess paintings are from Masullo’s personal collection.

Nick Mauss, Concern, Crush, Desire, 2011, cotton applique on velvet, brass doorknobs and doorstoppers. 131x94x115″

A surprising fiber art piece is an architectural adornment that reminds us of either Roman-era painted walls, or maybe it is Louis XIV. Either way, the piece, by Nick Mauss, looks painted and it’s great.

We saw the show with our NY correspondent Cate Fallon, and ran into friends and fellow bloggers, Hrag Vartanian, accompanied by Marina Galperina of Flavorpill, Mark Barry, and James Wagner and Barry Hoggard. We also saw Edie Newhall, there with a friend to check things out before running uptown to see a Cecil Beaton show at the Museum of the City of New York (she had previously been downtown to see the Cindy Sherman show). Always a pleasure to run into people.  Bottom line, it’s an aesthete’s show, this curated show, and the curators have aesthetics on their minds. Here below is the rest of our picture post.  More images at Roberta’s flickr and Libby’s flickr.

A faux? behind-the-scenes performance with hairspray and dancers interested us more than the featured dance performance out front.
Next to the white, bright hairspray room, Wu Tsang’s Green Room installation plus cross-dresser-nightclub videos
Nicole Eisenman, from Untitled, 2011, 45 mixed media monotypes, 24 3/4 x 19 3/4 each


Nicole Eisenman, Breakup, 2011, oil and mixed media on canvas, 56 x 43 inches
Tom Thayer, Paper Puppets and Scenery Used in Production of Animated Videos and Performance, 2011, paper, tape and collage, 10 3/8 x 18 3/4″


Michael E. Smith, Untitled, 2012, mixed media (oatmeal covered lawn clipper)
K8 Hardy, from group #1-#7, chromogenic prints with photograms


LaToya Ruby Frazier standing (to left) in front of her installation
hrag and friend
Hrag Vartanian and Marina Galperina, waiting for Lucy Raven’s performance at the press preview
Barry Hoggard and James Wagner