The Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than the Real Thing Set to Open March 20th

 

 

 

Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than the Real Thing

The Whitney Museum of American Art announces that 69 artists and 2 collectives will participate in Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than the Real Thing. Opening March 20, this is the 81st edition of the Museum’s landmark exhibition series, the longest-running survey of American art. A presentation of the most relevant art and ideas of our time, the artists featured in the Whitney Biennial showcase work across most of the Museum’s gallery space as well as through a robust series of film and performance programs available at the Museum and online. Co-organized by two Whitney curators, Chrissie Iles and Meg Onli, the Biennial presents the work of contemporary artists working across media and disciplines, representing evolving notions of American art.

We Must Imagine Liberation, 2024 by Artist Demian Dine Yazhi. Photo credit: Roberta Fineberg 

Artists often present political views within their artwork. In the above installation entitled “We Must Imagine Liberation” by artist Demian DinéYazhi´, photographer Roberta Fineberg found the hidden message in the flickering letters across the artwork’s three stanzas – ‘Free Palestine’. 

“We sought to create an exhibition in the form of what artist Ligia Lewis calls a ‘dissonant chorus,’ unharmonious in its collectivity,” said Iles and Onli. “It is striking how many artists are contending with relationships between the psyche and the body, and the precarity of the past few years. Artists are continuing to grapple with history and identity; we have made an exhibition that unfolds as a set of relations, exploring the challenges of coming together in a fractured moment. We are thrilled to be working with such a rigorous and thoughtful group of artists to create a space where ideas and the materiality of the world can be examined and engaged.”

Statue of Freedom (Marsha P. Johnson) by Kiyan Williams. Photo credit: Roberta Fineberg

“The Biennial is an engine that powers the Whitney forward, by introducing new artists and ideas to our community and beyond. It is both what we do and who we are,” said Scott Rothkopf, Alice Pratt Brown Director at the Whitney Museum. “The 2024 Biennial has been led with both rigor and empathy by our brilliant co-organizers Chrissie and Meg, and I look forward to welcoming this incredible group of artists to the Whitney as we collectively reimagine the landscape of contemporary American art.”

Suzanne Jackson, Rag-to-Wobble,, 2020. Acrylic, cotton paint cloth and vintage dress hangers, 91 1/2 x 54 1/2 in. (232.4 x 138.4 cm), variable; with 14 inches variable bulge. Courtesy the artist and Ortuzar Projects, New York. Photograph by David Kaminsky.

Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than the Real Thing is a thematic exhibition focusing on ideas of “the real” to acknowledge that, today, society is at an inflection point, in part brought on by artificial intelligence challenging what we consider to be real, as well as critical discussions about identity. Many of the artists presenting works explore the fluidity of identity and form, historical and current land stewardship, and concepts of embodiment, among other urgent throughlines.

Agent Karen Jenkins Johnson in front of Blue Whale, 1983 by Artist Mary Lovelace O’Neal. Photo credit: Roberta Fineberg

The 2024 Whitney Biennial is co-organized by Chrissie Iles, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Meg Onli, Curator-at-Large at the Whitney, with Min Sun Jeon and Beatriz Cifuentes. The performance program is organized by Iles and Onli, with guest curator Taja Cheek. The film program is organized by Iles and Onli, with guest curators Korakrit Arunanondchai, asinnajaq, Greg de Cuir Jr., and Zackary Drucker.

Mary Lovelace O’Neal, Self Portrait-She Now Calls Herself Sahara (from the series Two Deserts, Three Winters) c. 1990s. Acrylic paint on canvas, 81 x 138 in. (205.7 x 350.5 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York and San Francisco. © Mary Lovelace O’Neal.

Complete List of Artists

 

Stolen Time, 2023-4 by Artist Nikita Gale. Photo credit: Roberta Fineberg

 

Artist Suzanne Jackson. Photo credit: Roberta Fineberg

 

Isaac Julien, Lolaus/In the Life (Once Again… Statues Never Die), 2022. Inkjet print, 59 x 78 3/4 in. (150 x 200 cm). © Isaac Julien. Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London.

 

 

 

Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio, El Ruido del bosque sin hojas/The Sound of the Forest without Leaves, 2020. Rubber, tree residue, paint residue, glass, string, acrylic, wood glue, and clothing, approximately 122 x 90 x 6 in. (309.9 x 228.6 x 15.2 cm). © Eddie Rodolfo Aparicio. Courtesy the artist and Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles and Mexico City. Photograph by Paul Salveson and Ruben Diaz.

 

Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than the Real Thing opens March 20, 2024, and is the eighty-first edition of the Museum’s landmark exhibition series, the longest-running survey of American art. A constellation of the most relevant art and ideas of our time, the Whitney Biennial is a showcase of contemporary artists working across media and disciplines, representing evolving notions of American art.

Artists’ Party
Sunday, March 10

7–10 pm

Location: Museum Lobby
Join fellow 2024 Whitney Biennial artists and the Whitney’s Biennial Team for an intimate celebration to kick off a week of Biennial festivities. This private cocktail reception is for artists and staff only, with passed small bites, cocktails, a DJ set by Cardamami, and open viewing of the Biennial galleries.

Opening Reception #1
Tuesday, March 12
6–10 pm

Location: Entire Museum (Bars/Hospitality Location: Lobby and 3rd Floor Theater)

Join us for a cocktail reception with light snacks, cocktails, a DJ set by Riobamba, and an open viewing of all galleries throughout the museum. We expect around 2,000 guests to attend this reception.

Opening Reception #2
Wednesday, March 13
7–10 pm

Location: Entire Museum (Bars/Hospitality Location: Lobby and 3rd floor Theater)

Join us for a cocktail reception with light snacks, cocktails, a DJ set by Riobamba, and an open viewing of all galleries throughout the museum. We expect around 1,500 guests to attend this reception.

About the Curators

Sharon Hayes, Ricerche: two, 2020 (installation view, Kristina Kite Gallery, Los Angeles, 2021). Two-channel video, color,, sound; 38.47 min. © Sharon Hayes. Photograph by Brick Wilcox

Film Program

April 12: Speaking in Camouflage: Madeleine Hunt-Ehrlich, curated by Greg de Cuir Jr.
May 3: the land wants you, curated by asinnajaq
June 21: Dear Ghost, if a memory is false does it mean it does not have real consequences?, curated by Korakrit Arunanondchai
July 12: Sis, I Don’t Know: Remembrance a Summer Flower, International Portal of Artificial Maximum Results, curated by Zackary Drucker
September 20: Speaking in Camouflage: Christopher Harris, curated by Greg de Cuir Jr.

More information about specific films, how to purchase tickets to in-person screenings, and how to view films online will be available on the Museum’s website.

Gallery Assistants Karina Garcia (left) and Zora Ilunga-Reed (right) in front of Mavis Pusey Painting. Photo credit: Roberta Fineberg

Korakrit Arunanondchai focuses on the transformative potential of storytelling. With each project, the artist expands his world of interconnected stories through expansive video installations, paintings, sculptures, and performative works. In his work, the idea of collectivity is understood through both the secular and the sacred. A polyphony of storytellers produces a multi-perspectival and non-linear mode of story-telling in Arunanondchai’s work.

Born in Bangkok and working primarily between Bangkok and New York, he often works with collaborators to assemble audio and visual materials from various sources. In 2018, Arunanondchai co-founded GHOST:2561, a video and performance art triennial in Bangkok, Thailand.

asinnajaq is from Inukjuak, Nunavik, and lives in Tiohtià:ke (Montreal) as a photographer, writer, curator, and filmmaker. She, along with Barbara Fischer, Candice Hopkins, Catherin Crowston, and Jose Drouin Brisbois, was part of the curatorial team that supported Isuma, an artist collective that represented Canada at the 58th Venice Biennale. asinnajaq has also co-created, with Stephern Pushkas, the three-day film festival, Tillitarniit, that celebrates Inuit art and artists. In 2017, she wrote and directed the short sci-fi documentary Three Thousand. She was long-listed for the 2020 Sobey Art Award and co-curated the inaugural exhibition INUA at the Winnipeg Art Gallery – Qaumajuq alongside Kablusiak, Krista Ulujuk Zawadski, and Dr. Heather Igloliorte. asinnajaq organized the Flaherty NYC 2022 fall program Let’s all be lichen.

Greg de Cuir Jr is co-founder and artistic director of Kinopravda Institute in Belgrade, Serbia. He has organized programs at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (London), National Gallery of Art (Washington DC), Anthology Film Archives (New York), Locarno Film Festival, Eye Filmmuseum (Amsterdam), Biennale de Lubumbashi, and many other institutions.

Zackary Drucker is an American multimedia artist, director, and producer who has dedicated her career to telling stories that expand cultural understanding of difference. Drucker is a trans woman and activist based in Los Angeles who often works collaboratively to share narratives about gender-expansive people and women and humanize their communities and struggles.

Drucker recently directed the Hulu Original documentary Queenmaker: The Making of an It Girl and co-directed the Sundance award-winning HBO original documentary The Stroll and the HBO documentary series The Lady and the Dale. She is an Emmy-nominated producer for the docuseries This Is Me and a producer on Golden Globe and Emmy-winning Amazon original series Transparent. She is also a producer on the science fiction film Biosphere, released by IFC Films. Drucker has performed and exhibited her work internationally in museums, galleries, and film festivals, including the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

JJJJJerome Ellis playing the saxophone at Performance Space, New York, 2023. Photograph by Annie Forrest.

Performance Program

Performance Schedule:
April 27–28: The Long Count by Debit
June 8: Motor Tapes by Sarah Hennies
June 29–July 1: Speaker by Holland Andrews
July 20–21: Material by Alex Tatarsky
August 2–4: Offerings by JJJJJerome Ellis

Taja Cheek, also known professionally as L’Rain, is a curator and musician. She has led performance programs at MoMA PS1, including Sunday sions, an interdisciplinary performance series, and Warm Up, a summer outdoor music series that the museum has hosted since 1998. Prior to her time at MoMA PS1, she worked closely with artists to realize projects at institutions, including Creative Time, Weeksville Heritage Center, and The High Line. She also co-founded a DIY rehearsal and performance space in her neighborhood in Brooklyn that primarily supports independent, improvised, and experimental music. Cheek has previously performed at the Whitney as a part of Kevin Beasley: A view of a landscape. She joined Onyx Collective as a part of Jason Moran’s 2019 solo exhibition performance series and as a member of the ensemble as part of the 2016 perforshake the stars with your song. Under the moniker L’Rain, Cheek is an internationally acclaimed musician whose most recent third album I Killed Your Dog considers what it means to hurt the people you love the most. It earned major praise from the likes of The New York Times, NPR Music, Rolling Stone, and was named Best New Music by Pitchfork.

Public Art

The work Stuttering Can Create Time is a public art installation presented at 95 Horatio Street, on the facade of the building across the street from the Whitney and the south end of the High Line. Created by the collective People Who Stutter Create (PWSC), this work marks the collective’s first project together and activates the Whitney’s exhibition billboard as a place to publicly celebrate the transformational space of dysfluency, a term that can encompass stuttering/stammering and other communication differences such as aphasia, Tourette’s, and dysarthria.

Alex Tatarsky, Sad Boys in Harpy Land, 2023. Performance, Aprons Arts Center, New York, March 2023. Commissioned by Aprons Arts Center. Photograph by Maria Baranova.

About Whitney Biennial Co-Organizers

Chrissie Iles is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. She is responsible for helping build the Museum’s comprehensive collection of moving image art. Past exhibitions at the Museum include two major thematic surveys of film and video installation, Into the Light: The Projected Image in American Art (2001) and Dreamlands: Immersive Cinema and Art (2016), and the retrospective Dan Graham: Beyond (2009), co-organized with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. She was co-curator of the 2004 and 2006 Whitney Biennials and curated the film section of the 2002 Biennial. Recent shows include Mountain/Time (2022), a group exhibition addressing ideas of re-mapping, migration, Black and Indigenous geographies, and conceptualizations of time and knowledge, including Korakrit Arunanondchai, Tourmaline, Kandis Williams, Kahlil Joseph, Clarissa Tossin, Maia Ruth Lee, Arthur Jafa, Anicka Yi, Alan Michelson, Ian Cheng, and Mark Leckey.

Iles is a Graduate Committee member of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, a Curatorial Studies faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, a Visiting Critic in Columbia University’s Fine Art Department, and a board member of the Julia Stoschek Collection. Recently published writing includes “East German Gothic and Black Second Sight: Unheimliche Histories in Stan Douglas’s Der Sandmann” (Das Minsk, Potsdam, 2022) and “Sacred Systems: The Moving Image Works of Korakrit Arunanondchai” (Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zürich, and Kunsthalle Hamburg, 2022).

Whitney Curator-at-Large Meg Onli (being interviewed). Photo credit: Roberta Fineberg

Meg Onli is Curator-at-Large at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In addition to the 2024 Whitney Biennial, Onli will co-curate the Museum’s highly anticipated 2026 retrospective for Roy Lichtenstein, the first New York retrospective for the artist in more than thirty years, with artist Alex Da Corte and Scott Rothkopf, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum.

Onli was previously co-director and curator of the Underground Museum. Prior, she was the Andrea B. Laporte Associate Curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA Philadelphia). While at the ICA Philadelphia, Onli curated the exhibitions Speech/Acts (2017), Colored People Time: Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts, Banal Presents (2019), Jessica Vaughn: Our Primary Focus is to be Successful (2021), and co-curated the retrospective Ulysses Jenkins: Without Your Interpretation (2021). Onli is the recipient of a 2012 Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant from Creative Capital for the Black Visual Archive, a project she founded in 2010 that reviews contemporary Black visual culture. She received a 2014 Graham Foundation Grant and the 2019 Transformation Award from the Leeway Foundation. She was also the inaugural recipient of the Figure Skating Prize, awarded by Virgil Abloh’s Art Space in 2021.

Niillasaš-Jovnna Máreha Juhani Sunná Máret – Sunna Nousuniemi, still from 100 Vuogi Dadjat Mii × Orrunsadji ASMR Edition, 2021. Digital video, color, sound; 13:07 min. © Niillasaš-Jovnna Máreha Juhani Sunná Máret – Sunna Nousuniemi

About The Whitney Biennial

A constellation of the most relevant art and ideas of our time, the Whitney Biennial showcases contemporary artists working across media and disciplines, representing evolving notions of American art. Established by the Museum’s founder, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, in 1932, the Whitney Biennial is the longest-running survey of American art. More than 3,600 artists have participated to date, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lynda Benglis, Louise Bourgeois, Frank Bowling, Mark Bradford, Alexander Calder, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Raven Chacon, Ellen Gallagher, Jeffrey Gibson, Nan Goldin, Renee Green, Wade Guyton, Rachel Harrison, Jenny Holzer, Edward Hopper, Joan Jonas, Ellsworth Kelly, Mike Kelley, Willem de Kooning, Barbara Kruger, Pope. L, Jacob Lawrence, Carolyn Lazard, Zoe Leonard, Roy Lichtenstein, Glenn Ligon, Agnes Martin, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Julie Mehretu, Sarah Michelson, Joan Mitchell, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Georgia O’Keeffe, Claes Oldenburg, Laura Owens, Jackson Pollock, Postcommodity, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Martine Syms, Wu Tsang, Cy Twombly, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, and David Wojnarowicz.

The 2024 Whitney Biennial is organized by Chrissie Iles and Meg Onli, with Min Sun Jeon and Beatriz Cifuentes. The performance program is organized by Chrissie Iles and Meg Onli, with guest curator Taja Cheek. The film program is organized by Chrissie Iles and Meg Onli, with guest curators Korakrit Arunanondchai, asinnajaq, Greg de Cuir Jr, and Zackary Drucker.

Ho Tzu Nyen, still from The Critical Dictionary of Southeast Asia (CDOSEA), 2017– . Algorithmically composed video, color and black-and-white, sound; infinite loop. © Tzu Nyen Ho. Courtesy the artist and Kiang Malingue, Hong Kong

Tickets On Sale

Starting January 25, visitors can purchase timed tickets for Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than The Real Thing, which opens March 20, 2024. More ticketing information is available on the Museum’s website.

Catalogue

Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than the Real Thing is accompanied by a 284-page exhibition catalogue published by the Whitney and distributed by Yale University Press. Edited by Chrissie Iles and Meg Onli, the catalogue features insightful essays by Iles, Onli, Eva Hayward, and Amber Jamilla Musser, along with a conversation among Iles, Onli, and Gregg Bordowitz and a foreword by Scott Rothkopf. Anaïs Duplan, Almudena Escobar López, Mariana Fernandez, Mara Hassan, Josie Roland Hodson, Nolan Jimbo, Tausif Noor, and Yasmina Price contributed entries on the work of each artist in the exhibition. An innovative format allows readers to engage with the book’s text from one side or immerse themselves in a generously illustrated section of full-page reproductions from the other side. The catalogue was designed by River Jukes-Hudson and Stephen Serrato of ELLA in Los Angeles. Copies will be available for purchase in the Whitney Shop, online, and at bookstores ($50).

AI model, 2024 by Artists Holly Herndon & Mat Dryhurst. Photo credit: Roberta Fineberg

Free Public Programs

A series of free virtual and in-person programs are offered in conjunction with Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than the Real Thing. More information about these programs and how to register will be available on the Museum’s website as details are confirmed.

Then and Now: The Whitney Museum Compares NYC Artworks from its First Biennial to Today:

Image credit: Left: George C. Ault, Hudson Street, 1932. Oil on linen, 24 3/16 × 20in. (61.4 × 50.8 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase 33.40. © Estate of George C. Ault.
Right: Photo by Max Touhey Photography

To mark the latest edition of the Biennial—Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than The Real Thing, on view at the Museum (99 Gansevoort Street in Manhattan) until August 11—the Whitney partnered with architectural photographer Max Touhey to determine the exact locations of many New York City scenes depicted in 1932 Biennial artworks and recreate them. The results show a changing NYC and showcase the longevity of the Biennial, the longest-running survey of American art that, since its beginning, has spotlighted many of the most relevant ideas and artists of the time.

Each location will be included in a digital map launching today at whitney.org/map and next week via Whitney’s guide on the Bloomberg Connects app. The project—called “Putting Artists on The Map”—showcases the long history of the Whitney Biennial in New York City and invites viewers to discover the locations of Biennial artist studios, NYC spots depicted by Biennial artists, NY subway stations that include artworks by Biennial artists as part of the MTA’s Art and Design program, and much more.

 

Free Friday Night
Friday, March 15th (and every Friday!)
5–10 pm
Location: Entire Museum

Every Friday evening from 5-10 pm, admission to the Museum is free and includes access to all galleries, music, tours, hands-on artmaking, and special programming. For this special edition of the Whitney’s Free Friday Night, our Biennial galleries will be open to all visitors. Frenchette (Ground Floor) and Studio Bar (8th Floor) will be open for service through 10 pm. A pop-up bar with drinks for purchase will also be available in the Lobby. We expect around 3,000 visitors to attend this event.

All Biennial Artists may enter with their Artist Lifetime Pass member card or by checking in at the member desk.

For your guests: Though admission is free, tickets are required, and advance tickets are recommended. Reserve here.

The Last Safe Abortion, 2023 by Artist Carmen Winant. Photo credit: Roberta Fineberg

Visitor Information

The Whitney Museum of American Art is located at 99 Gansevoort Street between Washington and West Streets, New York City. Public hours are Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 10:30 am–6 pm; Friday, 10:30 am–10 pm; and Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 am–6 pm. Closed Tuesday. Visitors eighteen years and under and Whitney members: FREE. The Museum offers FREE admission and special programming for visitors of all ages every Friday evening from 5–10 pm and on the second Sunday of every month.