103 Reasons To Visit the 2014 Whitney Biennial

There are 103 US-based artists in the 2014 Whitney Biennial–including the brash and controversial Bjarne Melgaard, whose installation is pictured above–which means you’re bound to find at least one thing that moves you. We attended yesterday’s press preview and made a marathon tour—three hours certainly not being enough time properly ponder the state of contemporary art, so plan accordingly. Here are a few of our favorites from that first visit. The biennial opens to the public on March 7 and is on view through May 25.

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Joel Otterson‘s tent structure and hanging chandelier of crystal goblets would provide a nice place for a nap by the time you reach the 4th floor, though that guard might object to such a functional use of contemporary art.

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Elijah Burgher‘s colored pencil drawings explore sexuality and ritual, and prove that conventional materials can still be pushed in new directions.

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This Uri Aran installation combines sculpture, painting, video, photography, and a few chocolate chip cookies to create a messy tableaux–a cross between a studio and a very untidy laboratory.

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Eternally hip critical publishing house semiotext(e) gets a spotlight at the biennial. If you’re looking to redecorate your apartment, you might want to consider this silver wallpaper collage of highlights from the imprint’s history.

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Rebecca Morris makes enormous abstract paintings that are all about playful pattern and movement. This one looks like a slew of rainbow lightning bolts dancing in a haze of static.

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Charline von Heyl is a national treasure. Here, she contributes 36 mixed-media works. Check ’em out up close, then step way back and take in the whole fantastic grid.

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Keith Mayerson paints people, touristy scenes, cartoon characters, and Abraham Lincoln. For the biennial, the curators have given him two whole walls to hang a wild arrangement of canvases from the past decades.

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Not too much thinking required for these stoneware works by Shio Kusaka: they’re just goddamn cute.

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Out in the courtyard, Puerto Rican artist Radames “Juni” Figueroa has constructed an installation called Breaking The Ice. Space heaters inside replicate balmy temperatures; squint a bit and you might be able to imagine you’re in the tropics.

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Laura Owens serves up a helpful message that everyone would do well to remember as the week of parties and fairs grinds on, and on, and on.

 

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