EYE CANDY

The Whitney Houston Biennial Is Not Messing Around

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Kira Nam Greene

After years of anticipatory build-up, the 2017 Whitney Biennial finally opened this month to widespread acclaim for its unapologetically political bent—that is, before a painting of Emmett Till in an open casket, depicted by the white artist Dana Schutz, brought along its fair share of uproar and internet outrage. For those who were let down, though, there’s no shortage of back-ups when it comes to biennials these days: there are currently over 200 editions of the surveys, from the far reaches of Antarctica to barren desserts of Coachella Valley. In fact, the most uplifting edition happens to be just 10 minutes away from the Whitney Museum’s newly renovated, Renzo Piano-designed home: the Whitney Houston Biennial, which is showcasing no less than 125 artists, all of them women, at the curatorial nonprofit Chashama until this Wednesday. Organized by the artist and curator Christine “C.” Finley, the show has doubled in size since its first edition in 2014, and this time around is showcasing everyone from Justin Vivian Bond and Spring/Break organizer Ambre Kelly to dozens and dozens of various emerging artists, in the vein of the biennial’s namesake song: “I’m Every Woman.” See a selection of the works, all inspired by a pioneering woman, here.

1

Kira Nam Greene, “Grab It By the Papaya,” 2016.

2

Alex Nuñez, 2016.

3

Haley Hughes, “Amerikkka,” 2017.

4

Nicole Maloof, “I Drink to Make Them Go Away,” 2016.

5

Marzena Abrahamik, “Jade,” 2016.

6

Cat Del Buono, still from “Tears,” 2015.

7

Elizabeth Bick, “Street Ballet,” 2016.

8

Qinza Najm, “Groom Hunter,” 2015.

9

Jenny Kemp, “Dream Team,” 2016.

10

Amanda Nedham, 2016.

11

Haley Hughes, “Dead Fish Flood,” 2016.

12

Beka Venezia, “Women’s March on Washington,” 2017.

13

Maxi Cohen, “Area,” 1985.

14

Victoria Sambunaris, “Specimen 40,” 2015.

15

Ingrid Baars, “Lucrezia,” 2015.

16

Natalee Cayton, “Caddoan Whalebird,” 2017.

17

Haley Hughes, “Standing Rock,” 2017.

18

Patrice Helmar, “The Arctic,” 2016.

19

Sarah Alice Moran, “Sweater Eater,” 2017.

20

Saira McLaren, “Untitled,” 2017.

21

Maureen St. Vincent, “Rock, Tit, Lipstick,” 2016.