The Whitney Biennial has long been the show that everyone feels the need to have an opinion about—and the safest opinion has usually been a negative one.
But this year’s version, opening March 11, may just elude the Biennial curse. For one thing, its three young curators—Chrissie Iles, Shamim M. Momin, and Debra Singer—have wisely steered clear of the single-theme approach that spawned the “political biennial” of 1993 and the “Internet biennial” of 2000. They’ve also learned their lessons from Lawrence Rinder’s 2002 edition, which was heavy on obscure collectives and light on coherence. Instead, the curators chose a seemingly innocuous buzzword, “intergenerational,” that makes room for the likes of David Hockney and Yayoi Kusama as well as the many contemporary artists influenced by the style and political radicalism of sixties and seventies art. This is also the first Biennial under director Adam Weinberg, who succeeded the controversial Maxwell Anderson (though in the end that may not mean much, since he arrived after the list was finalized).
But while dissecting the show is inevitably great sport, every Biennial succeeds in spotlighting new talent, like these ten young artists we think are well worth watching.