The Whitney Biennial

Went to the Whitney Biennial (name chosen seemingly to be confused with the much more impressive “Bicentennial,” as happened to several people I know) this weekend, and, well, I don’t know much about current art other than that Raymond Pettibon seems to have made a nice career for himself painting walls and ranting in front of Euro-jazzers, and that I was sorely disappointed by the huge silver cylinder that was roaring with noise while we were standing in line, but had quieted to nothing but a video screen with pictures of empty parking lots and a short burst of a car alarm by the time we got inside. I was hoping for a La Monte Young level assault (is the Dream House still open?), especially after I saw that Kevin Drumm was responsible for the audio.

Also puzzling: I couldn’t figure out whether the tinkly music playing in the background to the “Mario Clouds” installation (featuring a “hacked video game cartridge” removing all of Marioland save for the clouds) was actually composed with the Nintendo music composition cartridge or was just a clever tribute. I think it was the latter, but I grew up with Music Construction Set, so what do I know?

I did like Julie Mehretu, though it’s impossible to see in the JPGs what makes her stuff interesting, which is the slightly (nowhere near as much as the description makes it out to be) architectural line drawing underneath all the familiar color smashing, and how there’s a very pleasing discord to it all.

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