The Whitney Biennial is up and has much to be expected: de rigeur, plaintive-voiced, blabbering tape recorded lectures about class & sexual identity politics; de rigeuer blabbering wall-mounted collages about class & sexual identity politics; the de rigeuer room full of hanging & piled, brightly colored, toy-like, furry, fabric, stuffed animal-like, totems of class & sexual identity politics.
But there are also a few gems that make the trip especially worthwhile: Ricky Swallow ‘s wall-mounted sculptures of folded cardboard, (“Reversed Pitcher”, top left), are easily enjoyed for the palpably straightforward process of their construction, and still have a light-handed lyricism. Another favorite, (perhaps because also so easily apprehensible) iss Zoe Leonard‘s work entitled “945 Madison”. By covering a darkened gallery’s single window with a cardboard panel peirced by a 6 inch hole, she simply & immediately turned the entire room into an camera obscura, throwing upon the opposite wall the live, upside-down, color projection of the view across the street. And on the ground floor, the group My Barbarian’s papier mache masks, showing deceptively childlike craft in the service of primordial drama & humor.
This was the last of the famously uneven Biennial exhibitions to show in the intimately scaled Upper East Side Breuer building before the new Renzo Piano building
takes over downtown. The collection may not be groundbreaking stuff. But that in itself may be its attraction. Through May 25.