New York

1987 Biennial Exhibition: Film and Video

Whitney Museum of American Art

Even though this year’s Whitney Biennial seemed like a return to normalcy, the film and video component wasn’t relegated to the back room entirely. Bruce Nauman’s video installation The Krefeld Piece: Good Boy/Bad Boy, 1985, was given pride of place in an alcove off the main lobby, while other video works—the Grandmother and Grandfather, both 1986, from Nam June Paik’s Family of Robot, made of old TV sets; Grahame Weinbren and Roberta Friedman’s interactive videodisk The Erl King, 1986; and Judith Barry’s First and Third, 1986–mingled with the rest of the invited guests. But both in the front rooms and the back theater, the media fever that made the last Biennial so striking had dissipated in favor of more measured examinations of familiar issues. With many of the films and videotapes, this meant wrestling once again with the slippery question of narrative.

Thus Ernest Marrero and Susan

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