Whitney Biennial co-curators Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley are giving the public a look behind their artists’ curtains. In a new video series, five Biennial participants go in-depth on their work, explaining how they planned and created the art now on view at New York’s Whitney Museum, and how their respective backgrounds and lives have shaped parts of the exhibition.
Jeffrey Gibson, the first of the five artists showcased in the Whitney’s upcoming video series, used beads, fabric, and fringe to create garments and a flag that explore both his personal and American identity. Later in the series, artists Tomashi Jackson, Daniel Lind-Ramos, Kota Ezawa, and Meriem Bennani — who hail from all over the country, including Puerto Rico; Oakland, California; and Brooklyn — share the materials and stories that inspired their work.
The 2019 Whitney Biennial, which runs until September 22, includes 75 artists in total, all of whom are examining current cultural and social conversations in America. In the curatorial statement included in the exhibition’s catalogue, Panetta and Hockley call the Biennial a “snapshot of art in the United States” and describe the meticulous process of visiting hundreds of studios over a year and a half to find their participants. Also viewable in the catalogue are the artists’ “process” pages, scrapbook-like windows into the artists’ inner creative thoughts.