The Whitney’s 2012 Biennial is a collection the paintings, sculptures, music, and videos of artists who clearly led very different lives. In the exhibit, there was a realistic painting of a horse, a slide show of Dutch paintings that played Dutch songs, the den of an artist living in a museum roped off from public, prints of a woman’s days after a harsh separation from a man, and a sculpture made from the horns of an animal. The art is not only a collection of the products of artists’ careers, but events that occurred in their life, or a hobby, or something that simply fascinates them. Break ups. Hobos. Science. Smoking. Those are some of the topics covered in the art of the Biennial. Some of the pieces looked like some creative art. Some seemed to be a copy of other art. Some may not even be considered art.
The pieces in the Biennial leave a variety of impressions. Only a few pieces left a positive feeling on me. There was an art piece that contained several sculptures of spikes that were moving, and not just because of the fans situated on the edges of plastic that lay underneath of the spikes. A more scientific explanation for these spiky sculptures is several different shaped magnets were placed onto plastic with iron filling filled oil poured onto them. The spikes are a result of the iron fillings reacting toward the magnetic field. Part of the reason I was left with a positive feeling after viewing the sculpture was I actually knew “why?” and “how?” and “what?” before any of the guides had to explain. The other part was whether or not you’ve seen iron filling filled oil and magnets before, the sight is still amazing.
The Whitney’s Biennial raises the question of what is the true definition of art. In the Whitney’s opinion, it’s not just paintings of trees or sculptures of people anymore.