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The Whitney Biennial Meets the New Museum Triennial

Tuesday 21st February 2012

In New York City, you are rarely stuck for something to do, especially if you're an art lover. However, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the New Museum are about to make it even easier for you to get your fill of culture, if you happen to be in town this March. 
 
For the first time ever, the Whiteny Biennial and the New Museum Triennial will be on view at the same time. The New Museum's second Triennial opened last Wednesday, and the Whitney's 76th Biennial will open on March 1st. 
 
Both the Triennial, and the Biennial, are considered important yard sticks where the state of contemporary art is concerned. What makes this match up really interesting is the fact that each institution has a very different contemporary art mission, and that their respective curators are bound to have very distinct thoughts and outlooks on how contemporary art should be exhibited, explained and appreciated. 
 
The shows will certainly be different in the fact that the New Museum is committed to an internationally showing of contemporary art, while the Whitney is, as it says on the tin, dedicated to American art.  
 
The New Museum's Triennial is titled The Ungovernables, which is a direct reference to the 1976 student uprisings in South Africa, but its curator, Eungie Joo is quick to suggest a more general theme of organised resistance. Either way, the show is coated with political commentary in a very direct way. 
 
The Whitney, on the other hand, notoriously sticks to a far more general scattering of works, that don't adhere to any specific theme. While politics may cling to some of the works that are to be included, it doesn't define a show which is more about exploring the multifaceted nature of the contemporary art scene. 
 
If you're interested in contemporary art, then you cannot go wrong by making sure that you visit both the New Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art over the next few weeks. 

Posted on February 21st 2012 on 04:26pm

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