Saturday, May 13, 2017

Whitney Biennial, A Few of My Faves

Melvin Chappell and I had a very exciting day at the Whitney Biennial in New York city last Wednesday.  The new building, designed by architect Renzo Piano, has so many terraces and lookout spots, it is a fun photo-op in itself.  

I love Larry Bell's six laminated glass cubes, Pacific Red II, 2017.  

 Here is Melvin, shooting me through the glass:

They can be seen from the terrace above, but don't give any indication of what it is like to actually look through them when you are next to them!  It has to be experienced.

This site-specific installation by Raul de Nieves also plays with reflections.  Born in 1983 in Morelia Mexico, he presently lives in Brooklyn.

We were there at the perfect time on a sunny day to get the full effect of reflections on both floor and walls.  The "stained glass" panels were made using paper, wood, glue, tape, beads, and acetate sheets.

Some of these are costumes the artist uses in his performances.Here is this figure from the back:

 The figure in white has an interesting face:


Its hands are fascinating, as is the pattern of the yarn.

The orange one is placed on a mirror as can be seen in the person's upside-down reflection.  It's hard to tell where the artwork ends and the reflection begins!

We took a break for lunch and a walk on the Highline.  This was visible very near the Whitney entrance to the Highline:

This intriguing wall poster, mural really, was almost completely removed by the time we walked back.  You still can get a feeling for it at this stage.

The Highline was beautiful as always, and so well maintained:

This view looks back towards the Whitney, showing its silhouette:

The Whitney itself likes to play with reflections. We shot this from an indoor lookout platform, until we were so dizzy we had to stop.  It is especially fun when the traffic below is moving, and reflected upside down.

The work below is by KAYA, a collaborative:  painter Kerstin Bratsch, sculptor Debo Eilers, and a girl named Kaya, who was 13 when they began working together in 2010.  It had many very large hanging tapestry-like pieces, which were somewhat dark, and included body bags as part of its mixed media. Even the docent called them "creepy."  But very beautifully creepy!  I  focused my shots on details, the glimmers of beauty amidst the darkness.

This one cast an interesting shadow on the wall:

Henry Taylor had many important and wonderful works in the exhibit.  Most of the publicity went to "The Times Thay Aint A Changing Fast Enough" (2017), which shows the fatal shooting of Philando Castile in his car by a Minnesota Police officer.

This one is called "The Fourth" (2012-17).  Were it not for the docent talk,  I would not have known that the building in the background is a prison, and the rooftop the place the prisoners exercise, which makes its meaning more mysterious.    

Horses appear in Henry Taylor's imagery repeatedly.  I am especially fond of this painting:

Here is a photograph by An-My Le, who was born in Saigon and now lives in Brooklyn:

We managed three docent tours during the day,  two on the Biennial, and one on the accompanying exhibit Fast Forward:  Painting From The 1980s with selections from the permanent collection, which was great history and context for the Biennial.  Melvin has made me a believer in docent tours!

It was a very happy, if exhausting, day. Here we are in front of a painting by Aliza Nisenbaum.



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