Spring 2002 Talks
The Whitney Biennial began in 1918 as the first major public forum for contemporary American art. It has since become one of the most eagerly anticipated exhibitions and continues to play a leading role in showcasing vanguard works by artists residing in the United States. In the past, the exhibition has been recognized not only for its artistic innovation but also for its controversial record. This year's Biennial curator, Larry Rinder (b.1961), the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art, will discuss his selections for the 2002 Whitney Biennial.
Before his arrival at the Whitney in 2000, Rinder was the Director of the CCAC Institute at the California College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco and Oakland. He was also the curator for 20th-century art and MATRIX at the Berkeley Art Museum. Rinder served as an advisor to both the 1991 and 1993 Whitney Biennials, and was among the six co-curators selected to organize the 2000 Whitney Biennial.
Vik Muniz (b.1961, São Paulo, Brazil) speaks about his interest in the history of photography, illusory techniques, and the nature of visual representation. Muniz's works tease the eye by presenting the viewer with familiar images created from unusual and surprising materials. His photographs are based on models that he makes using food or found items like chocolate syrup, dust, tomato sauce, cotton, and sugar. Deriving from a variety of sources—portraits of Sigmund Freud or Liz Taylor, Jackson Pollock’s abstractions, cloud patterns, children of sugarcane laborers—Muniz's imagery reveals his sense of humor as well as his irreverence for an original work of art, calling into question the significance of an original versus a reproduction.
Gregory Crewdson (b.1962, New York City, NY) discusses a new book with an essay by Rick Moody about his work, Twilight Series (1998-2002). Expanding on themes previously explored in his work, this series examines familiar tropes of American suburban life, highlighting tensions between domestic bliss and modern-day anxieties. The untitled photographs consist of elaborately staged cinematic tableaus of clichéd domestic environments, infused with supernatural effects. In Twilight Series, Crewdson presents a fragmented narrative reminiscent of the films of Alfred Hitchcock or David Lynch in which the appearance of normalcy is questioned. Like the fiction of A.M. Holmes, Joyce Carol Oates, and Rick Moody, Crewdson reveals his disillusionment with the utopian notion of the American Dream, presenting an alternate view of life gone awry.
Public Art Fund Talks are organized by the Public Art Fund in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School.