John Tain

  • “The Theater of Refusal” (1993)

    MENTION THE WORDS identity politics in the art world, and chances are that most people will think of the 1993 Whitney Biennial. The landmark exhibition, which took place a year after the Rodney King verdict and the ensuing Los Angeles riots, is today remembered for its unusually diverse checklist (white men made up only about a third of the artists), and for introducing Janine Antoni, Byron Kim, Glenn Ligon, and Daniel Joseph Martinez to broader audiences. At the time, however, the exhibition’s divergence from the usual survey format in favor of an exploration of issues of identity drew the ire