PRINT March 1995


Biennials Gone By

LIKE SPRING CLEANING, romance, and hay fever, the time comes every (other) year when many of us can be found indulging in compulsive rounds of Whitney Biennial Trivial Pursuit. You’re all seasoned players so I’ll skip the easy questions, like when the Whitney started holding its surveys (1932), or when they changed from annual to biennial (1973). Admittedly, I probably take America’s premier contemporary-art survey a little more seriously than I should. For me, a recent opportunity to browse the museum’s archives was a chance to fulfill my periodic urge to dive deep as a baseball fan into the high-season euphoria of facts and statistics.

Who were the first Abstract Expressionist and Pop artists, respectively, to show in a Whitney Annual? Arshile Gorky in 1936 and Marisol in 1962. Who has participated in the most Biennials? There’s room for argument, but Theodore Roszak clocked over two

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