New York

the Whitney Biennial 1995

Whitney Museum of American Art

Long before Klaus Kertess was announced as curator of the 1995 Whitney Biennial, the handwriting was on the wall: next time around, it would be a painting show. His appointment confirmed that instead of a multiculti blitzkrieg we would be presented with a show of “sensibility.” The barrage of advance press reported on the studios Kertess visited, what he liked and what he didn’t, and announced time and again his foggy organizing principle: the central role of metaphor in art. After the opening I went out looking for fans of the 1995 Biennial. I didn’t find many. Aside from the usual gripes attendant to the event that we all love to hate, the general sense on the street was that the exhibition amounted to a predictable lull after the pre-event press storm. Kertess himself, on the other hand, has plenty of fans, and many of his admirers happily indulged his peculiar predilections and personal

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