Whitney Biennial 2012

Sometimes I question my life direction…I think we all do. One question that comes up for me, is “Why do we live here?”. Mostly this question arises from being on the other side of the world to our family, but sometime it comes up because of other personal values. For example, I like rural country, I like the ocean, I like small towns, and as it turns out, the life I live now involves very little of these likes. When these likes are my focus, it makes me wonder why my husband now works in one of the largest cities in the world, when we previously lived in a small seaside town. When I start to wonder a little too much, then it is time to make a trip to the city and remember one of my other likes…art, oh yes, we really like art!

With this like in mind, we made a trip into the city for a Manhattan experience in the form of art and park. First stop, the Whitney Biennial 2012, followed by lunch in Central Park.

We joined the line with many others, patiently waiting for the Whitney Museum to open. I noticed once inside that this year the Whitney offers a Kids Audio Biennial tour for free. Maya very much enjoyed having the headset, and while I do not think Elle actually listened to anything on the headset, she enjoyed wearing it…and pushing the screen icons.

Taking the Children to an art exhibition like this a bit of work, but totally worth it. I have to be on my toes, firstly to makes sure we do not touch anything, (who can resist touching a pianola installation?) and secondly I have to answer a constant stream of questions from them…the who-what -where-when and why onslaught. I completely love this of course and enjoy interpreting art with them. Deciphering art is a form of reading, reading an image or a sculpture or an installation is very good for their imagination, and it is amazing how good children are at reading art if encouraged to.

The wonderful thing about going to the Biennial is that it is contemporary and edgy. The New York Times described this year as “One of the best biennials in recent memory”. The times also went on to say “The 2012 incarnation is a new and exhilarating species of exhibition, an emerging curatorial life form, at least for New York”. I liked hearing this, and agree, this exhibition was fresh and alive and blurs the line of art and everyday, and who or what is an artist. My favorite part of the NY Times article states “This Biennial tacitly separates art objects from the market and moves them closer to where they come from, artists…”

On the third floor we met Dawn Kasper in her installation “This Could Be Something If I Let It”. Kasper, whose sensibility tends more toward Beat has filled a gallery with most of her belongings, including a bed, stacks of books, numerous small appliances, artworks and art supplies. We stopped and chatted with her, and Maya went through some of her bags of stuff. Focusing specifically on a Christmas ornament and a herbal cough drop (yes, she wanted to eat it!). Kasper will be present in her installation for the duration of the show, visiting with the public, playing music, working or maybe even having a snooze.

Maya also became involved in another piece where she sat and drew in a book. Maya very much enjoyed sitting at the big red desk with a wonderful blank page before her to draw what ever she imagined…which happened to be a gothic looking bride. When Maya was done with her drawing we decided we had had enough of the Museum and we made our way over to Central Park for some outdoor early Spring sunshine…taking away with us, something valuable, even if I am not sure what, from the Whitney Biennal 2012.


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