AFC sez, about the current Whitney Biennial:
It's hard to get past the feeling that rather than examining current trends, Biennial curators Chrissie Iles and Philippe Vergne began with a set of concerns they were interested in and then sought out artists who met those interests. There's nothing necessarily wrong with this, but it does strike me as an intensely egotistical practice to be making the claim that contemporary art making is about the things you happen to be interested in. Old school political activism is not the pulse of [the] nation.

Despite impressive resumes, having heard Iles and Vergne speak I find it hard to believe the curators had a real understanding of what inspired the work they managed to find. The most engaging art in the show often used recycled imagery, or constructed fictional narratives, and the curators forward increased travel as the explanation for this phenomenon. I guess artists with nominal pre-Whitney success are making a lot more money than I knew, because I just assumed travel was as much a credit risk to these people as it is to me.
Hear, hear. No, I still haven't seen the show--take this for what it's worth as a preReview. An artist friend who had a frustrating studio visit from Vergne and Iles reports that they didn't look with their eyes, or even their ears, but with their mouths (especially him, and she deferred to him). And what is it with Europeans and the fucking spirit of '68? Catherine David took that same tack with Documenta a while back. Yes, a crazy liberating time for young Parisians, running wild in the streets, believing for a few moments in the possibility of universal socialism---GET OVER IT! I mean, Deep Dish TV? As much of their politics as I might agree with, what they do isn't art, it's political activist media. This is like Larry Rinder touching Rural Studio with the curatorial magic wand a few years ago and saying "I have the power to make you an artist." It's just not fair to people who do art 24/7 and deserve some comprehension. OK, I will shut up until I see the show. We're quibbling about the themes and the people, not the work.

- tom moody 3-11-2006 9:30 pm

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