The 2019 edition of the Whitney Biennial, on view May 17 through September 22, was curated by Whitney Museum Associate Curator Jane Panetta and Assistant Curator Rujeko Hockley. To curate the Biennial, they visited studios across the country, eventually narrowing their selection to 75 artists including NIAD Art Center’s Marlon Mullen. Although no official title or theme has been announced, the curators presented these comments in the press release:
Panetta: Ru and I especially focused on emerging artists and first time Biennial participants: approximately seventy-five percent of the artists in the show are under forty and only five have previously appeared in a Whitney Biennial. In part, this emphasis resulted from what we saw during our research across the U.S., as we were struck by the profound difficulties of our current moment and the ways in which so many artists we encountered are struggling and facing fewer opportunities to present their work publicly.
Hockley: Although intentionally broad in scope, the exhibition explores key themes, including the mining of history in order to reimagine the present or future, a profound and sustained consideration of questions of equity along financial, racial, and sexual lines, a concern with climate change, and explorations of the vulnerability of the body. Artists in the exhibition are engaged with notions of what community means and can provide while using art to confront and cope with our current world.
The Whitney Museum of American Art is at 99 Gansevoort Street in New York. The Whitney Biennial runs from May 17 through September 22, 2019.