The 10 Must-See Artists at the Whitney Biennial

A guide to the most exciting paintings, sculptures, videos, and live performances.

March 2, 2012

Held every March in the slate-gray Madison Avenue behemoth that the Whitney Museum will soon vacate for newer, hipper downtown digs, the Whitney Biennial is one of those exhibitions that get the whole art world talking.

Launched in 1932 as an edited Who's Who in American Art, the Biennial has helped put such luminaries as Matthew Barney, Glenn Ligon, and Cindy Sherman on the map. This year's edition is smaller than Biennials past, with 51 artists hailing from all over the United States. Performance art will play a prominent role, as it did in 2008 and 2010, with curators Jay Sanders and Elisabeth Sussman reserving the museum's entire fourth floor for music, theater, and dance (among other things) on a massive stage. The exhibition runs March 1 to May 27.
Here's the scoop on 10 not-to-be-missed artists and their work.

K8 Hardy
The New York photographer and video artist is best known for her feminist zine, FashionFashion, a playful and subversive take on Vogue-style gloss: Think non-airbrushed women—Hardy herself chief among them—in awkward poses and vintage duds. At the Biennial, she will contribute a series of new still images and, on May 20, there will be a proper runway show on the museum's fourth floor, in collaboration with fellow Biennial exhibitor Oscar Tuazon.

Left: Position Series #58, 2011. C-Print with Photogram, 20 x 30 in. (50.8 x 76.2 cm).

K8 Hardy; courtesy of the artist.

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