PRINT May 2017

Johanna Fateman

An-My Lê, November 5, Sugar Cane Field, Houma, Louisiana, 2016, ink-jet print, 40 × 56".

THE 78TH WHITNEY BIENNIAL is full of beautiful, smart, and trenchant art. It unfolds as a series of crisscrossing conversations and exhilarating moments where things simply feel good together—and yes, everything feels better in the new building. Cauleen Smith’s glittering, handmade banners, emblazoned with poetically mournful slogans in protest of black lives lost to racist violence, announce both the museum’s most inclusive Biennial yet and curators Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks’s attunement to injustices that long predate Trump’s win, but that are sure to tragically intensify under his rule. The statement Everything feels better in the new building takes as a given that everything, in general, is worse. The show benefits from—and is burdened by—an anxious climate that no one wished for, and it offers some encouragement, if not solace, with its earnest back-to-work

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