Biennial Bash

March 19, 2010

One of the most anticipated events in the American art community, the Whitney Biennial, opened last month at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue. The exhibition, simply titled 2010, is a presentation of contemporary American art from 55 artists, including two SVA alumni: Kate Gilmore (MFA 2002 Fine Arts) and Marianne Vitale (BFA 1996 Film and Video). (Gilmore and Vitale will be giving a talk at the SVA Theatre on Tuesday, April 6, 7pm; click here for more information.) Another alumnus, Aimee Walleston (MFA 2009 Art Criticism and Writing) recently wrote a series of profiles on five Biennial artists for Art in America.

The critics have also been kind to Gilmore and Vitale, who are both showing videos in the exhibition. The New York Times review of the Biennial called out Vitale’s work: “Most of the performance-based art in the show is on film, and some of it is really good. In a sort of stand-up comedy video the artist Marianne Vitale spits out abusive commands like a psychotic drill sergeant.” Additionally, Gilmore was one of three Biennial artists selected as a “must-see” by WNYC. Click on the image below to view a video of Gilmore preparing for her performance.

Gilmore spoke with the Briefs about the Whitney Biennial:

Tell me about the work you are exhibiting in the Biennial.
It’s a new site-specific sculpture and video that was shot at the museum. The video consists of me entering a column-type structure and then kicking and punching footholds in the structure to create a ladder-type system. When I kick and punch, splashes of color emerge, changing the environment from a banal grey to a vibrant yellow. After the footholds are created, I am able to climb the column and turn off the camera.

What was your reaction when you found out your work had been selected?
Needless to say, I was very happy. It is one of those shows that most artists, at some point in their lives, hope to be a part of.

How do you think participating in the Whitney Biennial will affect your career?
No idea. I’ll have to wait and see. It certainly will allow a lot of people to see the work!

Image: still from video, Whitney Museum of American Art.

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