Whitney Biennial

March 17–June 11, 2017
The 2017 Whitney Biennial, the seventy-eighth installment of the longest-running survey of American art, arrives at a time rife with racial tensions, economic inequities, and polarizing politics. Throughout the exhibition, artists challenge us to consider how these realities affect our senses of self and community. The Biennial features sixty-three individuals and collectives whose work takes a wide variety of forms, from painting and installation to activism and video-game design.

In the second film in a three-part series, artists raise questions about the nature of art and identity, emphasize the need for care and attention, and propose new ways to see the world.

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Man standing at desk point to computer

Celeste Dupuy-Spencer

Figure with images projected on face standing against red background

Tommy Hartung

Person standing on balcony dressed as the Statue of Liberty

Puppies Puppies

sculptural chair

Jessi Reaves

Jo Baer

Figures emitting light from various orifices

Tala Madani

List of twelve months with occult names

Porpentine Charity Heartscape

Large yellow gourd-shaped sculpture covered in black writing and nails

GCC

Painting of a man grilling meat

Henry Taylor

A grid made from wood

Matt Browning

Street crowded with people, woman in foreground smoking cigarette

Leigh Ledare

Sky Hopinka

Combination of 3D abstract and graffiti art

KAYA

Portrait of a woman and a young boy in a living room

Deana Lawson

Cube-shaped steel sculpture

Park McArthur

Staircase between terraces at the Whitney

Zarouhie Abdalian

Tree branch bathed in purple light

Asad Raza

Abstract pink sculptures hanging in a corner

Kaari Upson

Film crew working in tornado-like storm

An-My Lê

Jordan Wolfson

Samara Golden

Sticker with white words and geometric shapes on window pane

Casey Gollan and Victoria Sobel

Word "Jugoexport" superimposed over image of snakes

Irena Haiduk

Photograph of Harris in bed with Caravaggio poster in background

Lyle Ashton Harris

Deformed mannequin-like figures climbing ropes hanging from ceiling

Ajay Kurian

Various artworks inside wooden compartments

Occupy Museums

Mannequin with cone shaped head covered in pieces of cloth

Raúl de Nieves

Grid-like structure of objects hung on wall with framed document and liquor bottle

Pope.L aka William Pope.L

Sculptures of legs supporting work of art

John Riepenhoff

Desks in a classroom

Chemi Rosado-Seijo

Colorful abstract painting of people and insects

Dana Schutz

Painting of the book Censorship Now

Frances Stark

Abstract painting in pink, brown, and black

Torey Thornton

Photograph of portrait hanging on an abandoned building wall

John Divola

Oto Gillen

Jon Kessler

Abstract painting in black, blue, and shades of red

Carrie Moyer

Large boat in tropical setting

Tuan Andrew Nguyen

Two people reading the newspaper on a couch

Aliza Nisenbaum

Fence obscuring view of field

Postcommodity

Maya Stovall

Gloved hands slicing flower petals in petri dish

Anicka Yi

Painted images in a grid below "The New York Times" newspaper logo at the top

Julien Nguyen

Dark gallery with black and white image projected on left wall, and abstract image on a screen on the right wall

Kamasi Washington

semi-abstract landscape in bright green, orange, and red

Shara Hughes

Overhead view of six red cubes on terrace

Larry Bell

A grid, made from wood, collapsed

Matt Browning

Piece of tree trunk on a wrought-iron bar in gridded base

Harold Mendez

Abstract piece in red, black, white, and gray

Ulrike Müller

Mixed media banners hung from gallery ceiling

Cauleen Smith

Cameron Rowland

Two rectangular metal boxes containing wooden sheets, mounted on the wall of a conference room

Aaron Flint Jamison

collage of black, white, grey, and metallic images

Leslie Thornton and James Richards

Young man holding electronic device

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz

White building and evergreen tree in arid landscape

Basma Alsharif

Leilah Weinraub

Woman about to put a rock in her mouth

Dani Leventhal

View of sprawling city from a hill

Eric Baudelaire

Robert Beavers

Hooded figure with shadowed face

James N. Kienitz Wilkins

Hazy view of trees and a small flame along lakeshore

Mary Helena Clark

Woman taking hearing test

Kevin Jerome Everson

Gray textured wall with two eyes.

Harold Mendez

Esparza standing over fire in dirt trench

Rafa Esparza

Cube-shaped steel sculpture

Park McArthur

Susan Cianciolo

Cauleen Smith


2017 Biennial Artists

Zarouhie Abdalian
Born 1982 in New Orleans, LA
Lives in New Orleans, LA

Basma Alsharif
Born 1983 in Kuwait City, Kuwait
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Jo Baer
Born 1929 in Seattle, WA
Lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Eric Baudelaire
Born 1973 in Salt Lake City, UT
Lives in Paris, France

Robert Beavers
Born 1949 in Brookline, MA
Lives in Berlin, Germany and Falmouth, MA

Larry Bell
Born 1939 in Chicago, IL
Lives in Taos, NM and Los Angeles, CA

Matt Browning
Born 1984 in Redmond, WA
Lives in Seattle, WA

Susan Cianciolo
Born 1969 in Providence, RI
Lives in Brooklyn, NY 

Mary Helena Clark
Born 1983 in Santee, SC
Lives in Hamilton, NY 

John Divola
Born 1949 in Santa Monica, CA
Lives in Riverside, CA 

Celeste Dupuy-Spencer
Born 1979 in New York, NY
Lives in Los Angeles, CA 

Rafa Esparza
Born 1981 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA 

Kevin Jerome Everson
Born 1965 in Mansfield, OH
Lives in Charlottesville, VA

GCC
(Nanu Al-Hamad, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Aziz Alqatami, Barrak Alzaid, Khalid al Gharaballi, Amal Khalaf, Fatima Al Qadiri, Monira Al Qadiri)
Founded 2013

Oto Gillen
Born 1984 in New York, NY
Lives in New York, NY

Samara Golden
Born 1973 in Ann Arbor, MI
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Casey Gollan and Victoria Sobel
Born 1991 in Los Angeles, CA; born 1990 in Washington, DC
Lives in New York, NY; lives in New York, NY

Irena Haiduk
Biographical information not given

Lyle Ashton Harris
Born 1965 in Bronx, NY
Lives in New York, NY

Tommy Hartung
Born 1979 in Akron, OH
Lives in Queens, NY

Porpentine Charity Heartscape
Born 1987, location not given
Lives in Oakland, CA

Sky Hopinka
Born 1984 in Bellingham, WA
Lives in Milwaukee, WI

Shara Hughes
Born 1981 in Atlanta, GA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Aaron Flint Jamison
Born 1979 in Billings, MT
Lives in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA

KAYA
(Kerstin Brätsch and Debo Eilers)
Founded 2010

Jon Kessler
Born 1957 in Yonkers, NY
Lives in New York, NY

James N. Kienitz Wilkins
Born in 1983 in Boston, MA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Ajay Kurian
Born 1984 in Baltimore, MD
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Deana Lawson
Born 1979 in Rochester, NY
Lives Brooklyn, NY

An-My Lê
Born 1960 in Saigon, Vietnam
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Leigh Ledare
Born 1976 in Seattle, WA
Lives in New York, NY

Dani Leventhal
Born 1972 in Columbus, OH
Lives in Columbus, OH

Tala Madani
Born 1981 in Tehran, Iran
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Park McArthur
Born 1984 in Raleigh, NC
Lives in New York, NY

Harold Mendez
Born 1977 in Chicago, IL
Lives in Chicago, IL and Los Angeles, CA

Carrie Moyer
Born 1960 in Detroit, MI
Lives in New York, NY

Ulrike Müller
Born 1971 in Brixlegg, Austria
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Julien Nguyen
Born 1990 in Washington, DC
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Tuan Andrew Nguyen
Born 1976 in Saigon, Vietnam
Lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Raúl de Nieves
Born 1983 in Morelia, Mexico
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Aliza Nisenbaum
Born 1977 in Mexico City, Mexico
Lives in New York, NY

Occupy Museums
(Arthur Polendo, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Kenneth Pietrobono, Noah Fischer, and Tal Beery)
Founded 2011

Pope.L aka William Pope.L
Born 1955 in Newark, NJ
Lives in Chicago, IL

Postcommodity
(Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, Kade L. Twist)
Founded 2007

Puppies Puppies
Born 1989 in Dallas, TX
Lives in Roswell, NM

Asad Raza
Born 1974 in Buffalo, NY
Lives in New York, NY

Jessi Reaves
Born 1986 in Portland, OR
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

John Riepenhoff
Born 1982 in Milwaukee, WI
Lives in Milwaukee, WI

Chemi Rosado-Seijo
Born 1973 in Vega Alta, PR
Lives in San Juan and Naranjito, PR

Cameron Rowland
Born 1988 in Philadelphia, PA
Lives in Queens, NY

Beatriz Santiago Muñoz
Born 1972 in San Juan, PR
Lives in San Juan, PR

Dana Schutz
Born 1976 in Livonia, MI
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Cauleen Smith
Born 1967 in Riverside, CA|
Lives in Chicago, IL

Frances Stark
Born 1967 in Newport Beach, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Maya Stovall
Born 1982 in Detroit, MI
Lives in Detroit, MI

Henry Taylor
Born 1958 in Oxnard, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Torey Thornton
Born 1990 in Macon, GA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Leslie Thornton and James Richards
Born 1951 in Knoxville, TN; born 1983 in Cardiff, United Kingdom
Lives in Brooklyn, NY; lives in Berlin, Germany and London, United Kingdom

Kaari Upson
Born 1972 in San Bernardino, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Kamasi Washington
Born 1981 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA

Leilah Weinraub
Born 1979 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY

Jordan Wolfson
Born 1980 in New York, NY
Lives in New York, NY

Anicka Yi
Born 1971 in Seoul, South Korea
Lives in Queens, NY


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About

The formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society are among the key themes reflected in the work of the artists selected for the 2017 Whitney Biennial. The exhibition includes sixty-three participants, ranging from emerging to well-established individuals and collectives working in painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, film and video, photography, activism, performance, music, and video game design.

The Whitney Biennial is the longest running survey of contemporary art in the United States, with a history of exhibiting the most promising and influential artists and provoking lively debate. The 2017 Biennial is the Museum’s seventy-eighth in a continuous series of Annual and Biennial exhibitions initiated by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932. It is the first to be held in the Whitney’s downtown home at 99 Gansevoort Street, and the largest ever in terms of gallery space.

The 2017 Whitney Biennial is co-curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks.

The film program is organized by Christopher Y. Lew, Mia Locks, and Aily Nash.

Read more about the 2017 Biennial curators and advisors.

Whitney Biennial 2017 is presented by

Major support is provided by

     

Major support is also provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston and the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Significant support is provided by the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation.

Generous support is provided by 2017 Biennial Committee Co-Chairs: Leslie Bluhm, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Bob Gersh, and Miyoung Lee; 2017 Biennial Committee members: Ashley Leeds and Christopher Harland, Diane and Adam E. Max, Teresa Tsai, Suzanne and Bob Cochran, Rebecca and Martin Eisenberg, Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Kourosh Larizadeh and Luis Pardo, Iris Z. Marden, Artur Melentin, Tracy and Gary Mezzatesta, and Jackson Tang; the Henry Peterson Foundation; and anonymous donors.

Additional support provided by the Austrian Federal Chancellery and Phileas – A Fund for Contemporary Art.

Funding is also provided by special Biennial endowments created by Melva Bucksbaum, Emily Fisher Landau, Leonard A. Lauder, and Fern and Lenard Tessler.

Additional endowment support is provided by The Keith Haring Foundation Exhibition Fund, Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen, and the Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation.

Curatorial research and travel for this exhibition were funded by an endowment established by Rosina Lee Yue and Bert A. Lies, Jr., MD.

New York magazine is the exclusive media sponsor of Whitney Biennial 2017.


Exhibition Catalogue

Whitney Biennial 2017

The catalogue for the 2017 Biennial features texts and images representing the participants, artists who work in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, photography, film, and performance, as well as essays by the two curators and contributions by the advisors. As a record of the artists and ideas presented in this year’s Biennial, it serves as an essential resource on current trends in contemporary art in the United States.

Read an excerpt from the catalogue

Buy now

In the News

"A User’s Guide to the Whitney Biennial"
The New York Times

"The Whitney revealed the 63 participants in its sprawling survey of what’s happening now in contemporary art—the new, the influential and the potentially provocative."
The New York Times

"New Home, New Blood: Whitney Appoints Young Curators for 2017 Biennial"
The Art Newspaper

"Curators Named for 2017 Whitney Biennial"
The Wall Street Journal

"The 2017 Whitney Biennial Will Feature Edgy, Trending Artists in 'Turbulent' Times"
Artnet News

"The Whitney Biennial, inaugurated by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, still stands out as the pre-eminent biennial in this country."
The New York Times

"Whitney Names Curators for Next Biennial, in 2017"
The New York Times