In the 2008 biennial, Spike Lee’s exemplary and moving documentary about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, When the Levees Broke, installed among the art, is about as pointed and angry as this exhibition gets. Much here prefers a quieter, if not always subtle approach. One essayist identifies this as “radical diffidence”, or “the shy downturned face of revolution in our time”. I don’t believe it.
Until June, the 2008 biennial fills three floors of the Whitney Museum. And, until last Sunday, several of the artists also occupied and performed in the decaying salons, corridors and enormous Drill Hall of the Seventh Regiment Armory Building on Park Avenue, a few blocks from the museum. Opened in 1881, the Armory is one of the most impressive and fascinating buildings I have visited, its decaying, Aesthetic Movement period rooms a bizarre mix of the mock-baronial, Moorish, gothic, Japanese and other hybrid styles, created by leading artists and designers of the day. In one such room there was a dance marathon; in another, one-on-one therapy sessions about modern art took place inside a minimal white cubicle. Yards and yards of braided artificial hair festooned another salon, and in another was a bar, organised by artist Eduardo Sarabia. Except for the stuffed moose head on the wall, the bar was deserted. “When the bar is closed, visitors can view it as a sculpture,” the exhibition pamphlet explained. Like, yeah.
more from The Guardian here.