The new curators will be in charge--from now until opening day--of the selection of participating artists and the overall design of the Whitney's grandest event.
By Jesus Rosado
New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art has announced that the curatorship of the 78th edition of its classic biennial has been assigned to Christopher Lew and Mia Locks. The exhibition program, which aims to reflect the latest trends in American art, will be revealed in Spring 2017. This will be the first Whitney Biennial to be held at their new Renzo Piano-designed building in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.
Lew is an associate curator at the Whitney, where he recently organized simultaneous solo exhibitions of three young emerging artists: Rachel Rose (1986), Jared Madere (1986) and Sophia al-Maria (1983). During his prior tenure at MoMA PS1, he is credited for group exhibitions such as New Pictures of Common Objects (2012) and Taster's Choice (2014), among others.
Locks, oh the other hand was—until recently—assistant curator at MoMA PS1, where she was influential in organizing the ongoing exhibition Greater New York dedicated to showcasing the strength and diversity of the arts community of Greater New York. She also organized Math Bass: Off the Clock (2015), Samara Golden: The Flat Side of the Knife (2014) and The Little Things Could Be Dearer (2014). Previously, Locks was an assistant curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.
From now until the opening date, both curators will be responsible for the selection of artists and the design of this multidisciplinary event. Meanwhile, the deputy program director and chief curator of the Museum, Scott Rothkopf, will head an advisory group that will work with the curators in the planning and organizing of the activities of the Biennial.
The consulting team includes the writer and senior editor of Bidun, Negar Azimi; Gean Moreno, artistic director of Cannonball Miami; Aily Nash, co-curator of Projections, the film and video union created by artists for the New York Film Festival; and Wendy Yao, editor and co-founder of 356 S. Mission Road and Ooga Booga.
Traditionally, the Whitney Biennial brings together sculpture, painting, installations, photography, dance, theater, music, film, video and performance. The event covers a vast scope and aims to provide an overview of current artistic trends and bring the curatorial talent to brave the risks involving the criteria applied to the selection of participating artists.
The Whitney Biennial has become a reference point for artists, curators, critics and researchers who seek novelty and originality in the works on display. The pieces reflect the wide diversity of formats and expressive resources in the contemporary visual arts, shorten boundaries, and reveal to the public the infinite range of dialogues and hybrid results generated between the different artistic disciplines. To this end, the appointed curators face the difficult task of meeting the aesthetic and conceptual concerns that emerge during the two years before the event, without alienating market interests.
The latest edition of the Whitney Biennial took place in 2014 and was co-curated by Stuart Comer, Anthony Olmos and Michelle Grabner. ■
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