WHITNEY-SLAMMING HAS LATELY achieved the status of high sport, and predictably enough the press has had a field day with the current installment of the Biennial. Indeed the museum’s director, David Ross, could hardly have been more prescient when he remarked in his introductory note to the the Biennial catalogue, “Oddly, consideration of the construction of identity, central to an understanding of contemporary society, may seem to some inappropriate as the framing reference to introduce an exhibition surveying the past two years of American art.” When a show is premised on a summing up of the last two years of artistic culture, the stakes are high to begin with; in the case of the current Biennial, where the focus has shifted from the usual survey roughly mirroring the temper of the art market to a purposive attempt to map an artistic phenomenon that, almost by definition, percolates at

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