Posts Tagged ‘biennial’

Earlier this spring, as we stepped off the elevator on the top floor of the Whitney Biennial, my company at the museum made the rather amusing but to my mind also very accurate observation that it all looked like “an open studio at an MFA program”. My friend was reacting against the lack of space to move around any one piece, to truly see it and attempt to take it in, without bumping into either people or other works of art. In all, visiting this biennial (as well as the 5 or 6 I’ve seen before this, I should add) is a rather stressful and uncomfortable experience; perhaps especially so for those of us who have the luxury to visit Chelsea weekly and often find ourselves to be the only visitor in a gallery at a time. What’s most annoying to me is that with all the clutter, movement and distracting chatter, it is impossible to establish a new relationship to an artist’s work that I have never seen before. That, it seems, should be one of the biennial’s most important purposes. As it is, it resembles a big, well-attended art fair, both in aesthetics and function, with the exception that sales staff is really hard to come by.



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…the Columbian artist Doris Salcedo’s “Shibboleth,” at the Tate Museum, London, through April 5th. It’s a 548-foot installation piece that divides the floor of the Tate’s Turbine Hall. According to the artist it, “represents borders, the experience of immigrants, the experience of segregation, the experience of racial hatred.” Can the viewer make all of these connections from a crack in the floor? I await first hand accounts. Also of interest is Salcedo’s 2003 site-specific installation of chairs, created for the 8th Istanbul Biennial. She is an artist whose projects speak powerfully to the separation from, or containment of, memory and history. It is interesting to compare the monumentality of her work to that of Richard Serra. Where Serra’s work feels threatening, dangerous yet magnetic, Salcedo‘s large-scale works have the resonance of poetry.

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