iTunes-7-Icon-big rss

Home » More News » Currently Reading:

The Whitney Biennial web occupation

February 29, 2012 More News No Comments

20120229 102137 The Whitney Biennial web occupation

poweredbyguardianBLACK The Whitney Biennial web occupationThis article titled “The Whitney Biennial web occupation” was written by Matt Seaton, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 28th February 2012 21.50 UTC

 The Whitney Biennial web occupation

This week, the Whitney Museum in New York City gives over most of its exhibition space for its 2012 Biennial, showcasing the work of more than 50 contemporary artists. As in previous years, the Biennial is sponsored by Deutsche Bank and art auctioneers Sotheby’s. The co-curators of the show, Elizabeth Sussman and Jay Sanders, describe some of their criteria for inclusion:

“Artists are bringing other artists into their work – a form of free collage or reinvention that borrows from the culture at large as a way of rewriting the standard narratives and exposing more relevant hybrids. There is also the radical production of new forms, fabrication on a more modest scale. Artists are constantly redefining what an artist can be at this moment and this Biennial celebrates that fact.”

An unknown number of artists/activists – with notably good web skills – took this brief of reinventing and borrowing for the purpose of rewriting the Biennial’s “standard narrative” a few steps further than the Whitney had anticipated. First, on 24 February, Occupy Wall Street’s Arts and Labor Group issued a letter calling for the end of the Whitney’s Biennial in 2014, citing:

“The biennial perpetuates the myth that art functions like other professional careers and that selection and participation in the exhibition, for which artists themselves are not compensated, will secure a sustainable vocation. This fallacy encourages many young artists to incur debt from which they will never be free and supports a culture industry and financial and cultural institutions that profit from their labors and financial servitude.”

This statement might have made little impression outside niche arts media, but then, on Monday, anyone googling the Whitney might easily have happened on this web page – presumably, a “more relevant hybrid” of the Whitney’s own website. The faux-Whitney web page announced that the show’s two major sponsors, Deutsche Bank and Sotheby’s, had been sacked – the former for “reckless and even fraudulent financial speculation”; the latter for a lockout of unionised art handlers.

The statement went on to issue an apology to artists for permitting wealthy corporate sponsors to “whitewash their image and to hide the social costs of unchecked capital accumulation behind a façade of charity”. A matching, artfully fake press release was also sent out to art news sources.

Twitter was soon abuzz with the story – first, with congratulations to the Whitney for supposedly taking this stand; and then, as realisation set in that it was a hoax, speculation about who was responsible.

A call to the Whitney’s press office confirmed that the museum has nothing to do with the web page, and had no comment to make on the impersonated “apology”. The lead sponsors of the Biennial are intact, and the Whitney says it is seeking to have the whitney2012.org page taken down.

The domain name was registered on 18 February, but with no clue as to agency. But some Twitter leads soon turned up a spokesperson for the “intervention”, which was the work of, in their words, “anonymous cultural workers”.

“This is neither a prank nor a hoax,” said my anonymous cultural worker (ACW). “It is a gesture to encourage an influential institution to stand on the right side of history – which is to say, with the 99%.”

The gesture’s immediate objective was to publicise the labor dispute at Sotheby’s, but as to why the Whitney Biennial was targeted, the ACW says:

“Because this exhibition is the cutting edge of contemporary art. Viewers expect it to take risks, reject the status quo, and explore tough questions in art and society. In fact, curator Elizabeth Sussman had even remarked earlier that ‘We’re delighted that we naturally got involved with Occupy Wall Street.’”

I suspect Sussman is getting more creative involvement than she’d bargained for. As ArtInfo reports, a number of Occupy Wall Street-aligned artists are taking Sotheby’s locked-out teamsters as their dates to Tuesday’s Biennial VIP preview party.

“As for art exhibitions, we are not interested in simply shutting them down,” maintains the anonymous cultural worker:

“We love art and art exhibitions. But the art system as it is currently organized is unjust and unsustainable, and we are confident that new alternatives will emerge based in principles of inclusion, mutual aid, and collective creativity … as we all begin to imagine the possibility of art institutions being unshackled from the interests of the 1%.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

Published via the Guardian News Feed plugin for WordPress.

FAD NEWS

{VIDEO}: Ai Weiwei stars in secret crowdfunded sci-fi flick

April 17, 2014

{VIDEO}: Ai Weiwei stars in secret crowdfunded sci-fi flick

Sand Storm by filmmaker Jason Wishnow, imagines a not-so distant apocalyptic future, with Ai WeiWei starring as a water smuggler in a world where water is scarce. The short film was made in China over the course of the year, all while trying to keep the production under wraps and away from the attention of government officials.

NY Art News: Christie’s to offer a previously unseen masterwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat

April 16, 2014

NY Art News: Christie’s to offer a previously unseen masterwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat

On May 13th, Christie’s Evening Auction of Post-War & Contemporary Art will present a major painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat.

ART NEWS: Jeremy Deller and eight high profile artists join together for new show to highlight plight of species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species TM

April 16, 2014

ART NEWS: Jeremy Deller and eight high profile artists join together for new show to highlight plight of species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species TM

Synchronicity Earth – a London-based charity that funds and seeks investment in the most important conservation initiatives globally – is hosting a programme of events throughout the year to mark the IUCN’s Red List’s 50th anniversary.

ARTNEWS: Lucy Clout has won the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Award

April 16, 2014

ARTNEWS: Lucy Clout has won the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Award

Lucy Clout has won the Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Award

Paul’s ART STUFF on a train # 50: ‘Volcano in the Garden’

April 16, 2014

Paul’s ART STUFF on a train # 50: ‘Volcano in the Garden’

One door closes another door opens… Although a number of meritorious small galleries have closed recently, there’s a new trend towards auction houses putting on curated exhibitions of selling art as if, in effect, they’re commercial galleries who don’t represent artists.

ART/TECH: Shapeshifting Furniture from MIT

April 15, 2014

ART/TECH:  Shapeshifting Furniture from MIT

Cool Furniture that transforms based on its reaction to Nature …

ARTIST OPPORTUNITY: The WW SOLO Award 2014

April 14, 2014

ARTIST OPPORTUNITY: The WW SOLO Award 2014

The WW SOLO Award is an annual structured opportunity, created to provide support, development and exposure for a contemporary artist of any age, working in any medium.

FAD DAILY

FAD DAILY

To receive daily news on Art Openings, Art Opportunities, Competitions and much more just give us your email below - Its that EASY

ADVERTISING