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Learning Series Lecture: The Biennial as Snapshot and Legacy

  • For Learning Series members in the Curate Your Own Membership program
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Location: Floor Three, Susan and John Hess Family Theater

In this talk, teaching fellow Erica Cooke will provide conceptual context for the Biennial by considering how the exhibition challenges artists, curators, and audiences to engage with the current moment and reckon with historical legacies. The 2017 Biennial, like the previous iterations of the exhibition, is both a snapshot of today and part of an ongoing trajectory: it is the seventy-eighth exhibition in the Whitney’s ongoing series of Biennials and Annuals, and each is situated within an institutional frame provided by the Museum’s collection and exhibitions. Cooke will trace a few salient institutional, sociopolitical, and artistic legacies, as well as explore how these histories might nourish or burden today’s artists. This will provide an entry point for understanding the key themes of this year’s Biennial, including the formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society. 

Option 1: Saturday, March 11, 11:30 am–12:30 pm
Option 2: Sunday, April 2, 11 am–12 pm
Option 3: Thursday, May 11, 5:30–6:30 pm (sold out)
Option 4: Thursday, May 11, 7:30–8:30 pm

Individual and Dual Learning Series members are invited to this event: For Individual members, the invitation is for one; for Dual members, the invitation is for two. Registration instructions will be provided by email.

To join or upgrade, call (212) 570-3641.


Jon Kessler, Exodus, 2016. Mixed media with motor, surveillance camera, and LCD screen, 81 × 47 × 66 in. (205.7 × 119.4 × 167.6 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photograph by Genevieve Hanson

Jon Kessler, Exodus, 2016. Mixed media with motor, surveillance camera, and LCD screen, 81 × 47 × 66 in. (205.7 × 119.4 × 167.6 cm). Collection of the artist; courtesy the artist and Salon 94, New York. Photograph by Genevieve Hanson