PRINT April 1981

The Whitney’s Latest Sampler

AMERICAN ART’S EQUIVALENT OF a trade fair, the Whitney Biennial this year is more like candy’s Whitman’s Sampler, with something for everyone, than the result of a compromise or battle among the curators who make the selections—John Hanhardt, Barbara Haskell, Richard Marshall and Patterson Sims. This year, film, video, installation, painting, sculpture and photography in their various forms are all amply represented; what’s narrow-minded about it, though, is that virtually every work on view (except for the film and installation choices) could have been seen sometime during the last two years in prestigious big-city galleries. The Whitney Biennial is representative less of American art than of international gallery art, less nationalistic in its breadth than metrocentric in its depth: 69 of the 115 artists represented live and work in New York City. (To its credit, though, this year’s show

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