For the run of the exhibition, SVA Close Up is highlighting members of the SVA community selected for the 2014 Whitney Biennial (March 7 – May 25). This is the fourth installment in the series.
Among the Biennial artists generating significant critical praise is alumnus Zackary Drucker (BFA 2005 Photography), whose collaborative photographic installation Relationship is, in the words of The New York Times’s Holland Cotter, “[putting] queer consciousness on the front burner.”
Relationship is a series of photographs depicting moments—significant and banal, intimate and isolated—of Drucker and her partner and collaborator Rhys Ernst. Relationship provides glimpses into their experience as a transgender couple transitioning together. Installed across the gallery from Cost-benefit analysis, a photographic collage by A.L Steiner, with whom Drucker has collaborated in the past, Relationship contributes to a larger dialogue about bodies, relationships and sexuality in the spirit of what Steiner dubs “documentary realness.” Now based in Los Angeles, Drucker and Ernst met in New York City in 2005, pre-transition. Transgender identity is a significant consideration in the works of both artists.
Drucker and Ernst’s projects in the biennial also evince the increasing significance of collaborative art. Drucker sees collaboration as an essential element to her practice. In a 2012 interview with SVA Close Up, she said, “Making work with the people in my life has been integral to my evolution and development as a fully-engaged human. I think art-making, for me, is more powerful when it’s based on interaction or contact; the convention of working in a studio alone always seemed like a vacuum to me.”
Other elements of Drucker and Ernst’s participation in this year’s Biennial include their film She Gone Rogue, which is screening in the Whitney Museum’s Lobby Gallery through April 13, and an off-site contribution by iconic drag performer Flawless Sabrina, who will give tarot card readings in her apartment for a portion of the exhibition’s duration.
Images from top down: Relationship (Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, 2011), photo by Zackary Drucker; Relationship (Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, 2008), photo by Zackary Drucker. Both Courtesy of the artists and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.