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Whitney Biennial (wendy free)


From: Mark Alexander (malexander06_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Apr 23 2002 - 04:30:18 PDT

Which day were you there, Wendy? I went to the Whitney Biennial over spring
break as well, on Saturday 4-20, with Trish, another ArtsEdNet list member,
and we met Susan from Long Island who was there with about 30 other LI art
teachers, some of whom are also ArtsEdNetters. Anyone else been? Care to

With so much to see, it is hard for me to sum up my impressions. I was
prepared to be disappointed. Most of the reviews I'd read beforehand kind of
panned the show, one even going so far as to imply that art was dead, or
dying, and that this show was evidence that art was on a dead end path.
However, I came away after 7 hours with a feeling of relief, feeling that
the contemporary art world is still growing in directions which appear to
continually open new doors for future growth.

For me, it is often disappointing to view contemporary art which relies so
heavily on concept, without consideration for the formal art aspects-the
principles of design. Contemporary artists often ignore these formal
considerations. I find that post modern art frequently fails to have the
visual impact necessary for me as the viewer to even want to ponder what
they're trying to show me. I was glad to find at this biennial that most of
the artwork was visually compelling. Most of the work did grab me on a
formal or visual level, especially Gerry Snyder's oil paintings of the Story
of Lot, Quattra Watts' paintings of the Faces of God, Vira Luter's pinhole
photos of industrial landscapes, and Peter Sarkissian's projected video
images of a woman and her son.

Now I'm late to work, so will continue another time. Meanwhile, does anyone
else want to share their impressions of the show?


----- Original Message -----
From: "wendy free" <>
Subject: canned lessons

> i went to the biennal at the whitney over spring break and am still in awe
> pondering what i saw. if anyone else went and wants to talk about it, i
> would *love* to exchange impressions! there was LOTS of conceptual stuff
> going on; i was a little disappointed with the lack of painting, in
> particular. i wondered if the artworks i saw were so attractive to me in
> part because they were not traditional art forms? even more closely
> to the topic of different approaches to teaching - there was a lot of
> re-processed imagery and materials, things presented in different
> i was thinking what it would be like to deconstruct and reconstruct - in a
> thoughtful, exploratory way - things like patterns for tracing to cut out
> and make things or those old mimeographed color sheets or even certain
> materials like popsicle sticks and glitter... no matter your perspective,
> think you'd have to agree certain techniques and materials are pretty
> "loaded". i think it would be really interesting to explore in a
> non-negative/non-confrontational way.
> wendy