Five must-see works in the Whitney Biennial (slide show)

This year’s edition of the exhibition features three separate shows on as many floors by three outside curators. Here’s what to look for at the big event.

0

Comments

Add +

The Whitney Biennial is back for its 2014 edition, and while Time Out has already rendered its definitive judgment on the exhibition—the Whitney's last at its current home on Madison Avenue—it's worth taking another look with our shout-out to the top five works of art in the show.

  • Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

    Bjarne Melgaard, Think I’m Gonna Have a Baby, 2014

    Melgaard’s baby is certainly something to behold: a cacophonous, room-sized installation featuring lifelike sex dolls, gay porn and video images of David Koresh, the Branch Davidian leader who led his flock into a fatal confrontation with the FBI. Scattered throughout are furnishings and pornographic plush toys. Melgaard’s piece is a hypersexualized, apocalyptic freak-out.

  • Remade by Philip Vanderhyden; 2014; estate of Gretchen Bender

    Gretchen Bender, People in Pain, 1988

    Bender (1951–2004) was as prescient about mass media’s corporate machinations as she was overlooked in her lifetime, which is to say very on both counts. This piece, originally shown at Metro Pictures in 1988 and rebuilt this year, consists of dozens of backlit movie titles from the 1980s, scattered like stars across a crumpled field of black vinyl. The title suggests the consumption of pop culture as a form of mass self-medication.

  • Remade by Philip Vanderhyden; 2014; estate of Gretchen Bender

    Gretchen Bender, People in Pain, 1988, detail

  • Photograph: Lauren Spinelli; remade by Philip Vanderhyden; 2014; estate of Gretchen Bender

    Zoe Leonard, 945 Madison Avenue, 2014

    Leonard’s piece utilizes a prephotographic optical technology know as the camera obscura, in which light enters a darkened room through a lens, throwing an upside-down projection of the world outside. She’s created such a device in a space big enough to permit a full-scale projection of part of the building across the street from the museum—an effect that’s both spooky and sublime. 

  • Photograph: Bill Orcutt; Collection of the artist; courtesy Murray Guy; N.Y.; and Galerie Gisela Capitain; Cologne

    Joshua Mosley, Jeu de Paume, 2014

    Mosley’s Claymation video depicts a tennis match, set in 1907 at the Château de Fontainebleau in France, showing the players in an exquisitely detailed model of the tennis court built for King Henry IV. With camera angles following the game while taking in details of the environment, the work is a subtle, mesmerizing masterpiece of stop-motion animation.

  • Photograph: Collection of the artist; courtesy Corbett vs. Dempsey; Chicago

    Joshua Mosley, still from Jeu de Paume, 2014

  • Photograph: Courtesy of the artist; Broadway 1602; New York; and Maureen Paley; London

    Paul P., Untitled, 2013

    Paul P.’s 21st-century variety of queer art takes a page from such 19th-century aesthetes as James Whistler, John Singer Sargent and Marcel Proust. At the Biennial, this drawing—part of a series of renderings of sculptures at the Metropolitan Museum—is paired with an handsomely crafted writing desk designed by the artist. Much as Whistler did with his 1876 Peacock Room, Paul P. reframes the role of decorator as a builder of idealized worlds.

Photograph: Lauren Spinelli

Bjarne Melgaard, Think I’m Gonna Have a Baby, 2014

Melgaard’s baby is certainly something to behold: a cacophonous, room-sized installation featuring lifelike sex dolls, gay porn and video images of David Koresh, the Branch Davidian leader who led his flock into a fatal confrontation with the FBI. Scattered throughout are furnishings and pornographic plush toys. Melgaard’s piece is a hypersexualized, apocalyptic freak-out.


Users say

0 comments

Send tips and cat photos to:

Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

marley.lynch@timeout.com

Time Out videos



Subscribe to Time Out New York on Spotify for playlists and recommendations from our Music team.

Check out New York's best restaurants, hottest street style, cool apartments and more.