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.

Nick Mauss
For his contribution, Mauss—another young, hip New York artist—has re-created part of a room designed by 1940s-era Parisian artist and set-builder Christians Bérard that is bedecked with works by Marsden Hartley and Ellsworth Kelly from the Whitney's permanent collection.

Left: Material Studies, 2008-11 (detail). Digital photographs, dimensions variable.

Image courtesy of the artist; 303 Gallery, New York; and Galerie Neu, Berlin.

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