New York Magazine

Diverse, Solid, and a Little Safe

The Whitney Biennial looks a lot like today’s New York City. That’s mostly good.
Forensic Architecture, Triple-Chaser (2019).

2019 WHITNEY BIENNIAL

WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART. THROUGH SEPTEMBER 22.

FIRST, MASSIVE congratulations to the Whitney. Even with long, flat patches of overly well-behaved work, a strange visual monotony that makes this show predictable, generally weak painting, and collage and assemblage far too beholden to Robert Rauschenberg, this Biennial has as many as 15 standouts—which, judging by past versions, is a lot! Breakthroughs abound. Over half of the 75 participants are women, and over half are artists of color. Amen. Skeptics and cynics who say these demographics are achieved by good little humanist curators checking boxes to show how woke they are will be thrilled to learn what has always been obvious: Having an exhibition reflect the world this way makes it better.

The show is

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