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2012 Biennial

Sculpture, painting, installations, and photography—as well as dance, theater, music, and film—fill the galleries of the Whitney Museum of American Art in the latest edition of the Whitney Biennial. With a roster of artists at all points in their careers the Biennial provides a look at the current state of contemporary art in America. This is the seventy-sixth in the ongoing series of Biennials and Annuals presented by the Whitney since 1932, two years after the Museum was founded.

The 2012 Biennial takes over most of the Whitney from March 1 through May 27, with portions of the exhibition and some programs continuing through June 10. The 2012 Biennial is in constant flux, with artists, works, and experiences varying over the course of the exhibition. 

The participating artists were selected by Elisabeth Sussman, Curator/Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at the Whitney, and Jay Sanders, a freelance curator and writer who has spent the past ten years working both in the gallery world and on independent curatorial projects. Sussman and Sanders co-curated the Biennial’s film program with Thomas Beard and Ed Halter, the co-founders of Light Industry, a venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn

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Biennial Events

For the exhibition, the Whitney’s fourth-floor Emily Fisher Landau Galleries are being used as a dynamic, 6,000-square-foot performance space for music, dance, theater, and other events. This is the first Biennial in which nearly a full floor of the Museum has been given over to a changing season of performances, events, and residencies. 

Watch a series of videos about the 2012 Whitney Biennial, including interviews with the curators, artists, and filmmakers featured in the exhibition. 

Welcome to the 2012 Whitney Biennial

In this video, Whitney Biennial 2012 curators Elisabeth Sussman and Jay Sanders welcome visitors to the exhibition.

Sponsored in part by Deutsche Bank

Major support is provided by Sotheby's

Lighting and audio by Bentley Meeker

Exclusive hotel partner The Surrey


Generous support is provided by the Brown Foundation, the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Trust.

Additional support is provided by the 2012 Biennial Committee, chaired by trustee Beth Rudin DeWoody and Renee Preisler Barasch: Philip Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons, Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo, Rebecca and Marty Eisenberg, Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman, Diane and Adam E. Max, Heather and Tony Podesta, Mari and Peter Shaw, John Studzinski, and an anonymous donor; The Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the E. T. Harmax Foundation.

Funding for the 2012 Biennial is also provided by endowments created by Melva Bucksbaum, Emily Fisher Landau, and Leonard A. Lauder.