Whitney Biennial 2017

Mar 17–June 11, 2017

The 2017 Whitney Biennial, the seventy-eighth installment of the longest-running survey of American art, arrives at a time rife with racial tensions, economic inequities, and polarizing politics. Throughout the exhibition, artists challenge us to consider how these realities affect our senses of self and community. The Biennial features sixty-three individuals and collectives whose work takes a wide variety of forms, from painting and installation to activism and video-game design.


Staircase between terraces at the Whitney


Zarouhie Abdalian

Born 1982 in New Orleans, LA
Lives in New Orleans, LA
White building and evergreen tree in arid landscape


Basma Alsharif

Born 1983 in Kuwait City, Kuwait
Lives in Los Angeles, CA


Jo Baer

Born 1929 in Seattle, WA
Lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands
View of sprawling city from a hill


Eric Baudelaire

Born 1973 in Salt Lake City, UT
Lives in Paris, France


Robert Beavers

Born 1949 in Brookline, MA
Lives in Berlin, Germany and Falmouth, MA


Larry Bell

Born 1939 in Chicago, IL
Lives in Taos, NM, and Los Angeles, CA
A grid made from wood


Matt Browning

Born 1984 in Redmond, WA
Lives in Seattle, WA


Susan Cianciolo

Born 1969 in Providence, RI
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Hazy view of trees and a small flame along lakeshore


Mary Helena Clark

Born 1983 in Santee, SC
Lives in Hamilton, NY
Mannequin with cone shaped head covered in pieces of cloth


Raúl de Nieves

Born 1983 in Morelia, Mexico
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Photograph of portrait hanging on an abandoned building wall


John Divola

Born 1949 in Santa Monica, CA
Lives in Riverside, CA
Man standing at desk point to computer


Celeste Dupuy-Spencer

Born 1979 in New York, NY
Lives in Los Angeles, CA


Rafa Esparza

Born 1981 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
Woman taking hearing test


Kevin Jerome Everson

Born 1965 in Mansfield, OH
Lives in Charlottesville, VA
Large yellow gourd-shaped sculpture covered in black writing and nails



(Nanu Al-Hamad, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Aziz Alqatami, Barrak Alzaid, Khalid al Gharaballi, Amal Khalaf, Fatima Al Qadiri, and Monira Al Qadiri)
Founded 2013


Oto Gillen

Born 1984 in New York, NY
Lives in New York, NY


Samara Golden

Born 1973 in Ann Arbor, MI
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
Sticker with white words and geometric shapes on window pane


Casey Gollan and Victoria Sobel

Casey Gollan
Born 1991 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in New York, NY

Victoria Sobel
Born 1990 in Washington, DC
Lives in New York, NY
Word "Jugoexport" superimposed over image of snakes


Irena Haiduk in collaboration with jesus.d and Daniel Sauter

Biographical information not given
Photograph of Harris in bed with Caravaggio poster in background


Lyle Ashton Harris

Born 1965 in Bronx, NY
Lives in New York, NY
Figure with images projected on face standing against red background


Tommy Hartung

Born 1979 in Akron, OH
Lives in Queens, NY
Two tall pillars stand upright in a grassy field under a cloudy sky, with a large skull-like bone in the foreground.


Sky Hopinka

Born 1984 in Bellingham, WA
Lives in Milwaukee, WI
An abstract landscape in bright green, orange, and red.


Shara Hughes

Born 1981 in Atlanta, GA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Two rectangular metal boxes containing wooden sheets, mounted on the wall of a conference room


Aaron Flint Jamison

Born 1979 in Billings, MT
Lives in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA
abstract painted sculptural pieces hanging from black straps



(Kerstin Brätsch and Debo Eilers)
Founded 2010
An installation of multimedia in a gallery.


Jon Kessler

Born 1957 in Yonkers, NY
Lives in New York, NY
Deformed mannequin-like figures climbing ropes hanging from ceiling


Ajay Kurian

Born 1984 in Baltimore, MD
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Portrait of a woman and a young boy in a living room


Deana Lawson

Born 1979 in Rochester, NY
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Film crew working in tornado-like storm


An-My Lê

Born 1960 in Saigon, Vietnam
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Street crowded with people, woman in foreground smoking cigarette


Leigh Ledare

Born 1976 in Seattle, WA
Lives in New York, NY
A video still of person putting a rock in their mouth.


Dani Leventhal

Born 1972 in Columbus, OH
Lives in Columbus, OH
Figures emitting light from various orifices


Tala Madani

Born 1981 in Tehran, Iran
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
Cube-shaped steel sculpture


Park McArthur

Born 1984 in Raleigh, NC
Lives in New York, NY
Piece of tree trunk on a wrought-iron bar in gridded base


Harold Mendez

Born 1977 in Chicago, IL
Lives in Chicago, IL, and Los Angeles, CA
Abstract painting in black, blue, and shades of red.


Carrie Moyer

Born 1960 in Detroit, MI
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Abstract piece in red, black, white, and gray


Ulrike Müller

Born 1971 in Brixlegg, Austria
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Young man holding electronic device


Beatriz Santiago Muñoz

Born 1972 in San Juan, PR
Lives in San Juan, PR
Painted images in a grid below "The New York Times" newspaper logo at the top


Julien Nguyen

Born 1990 in Washington, DC
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
Large boat in tropical setting


Tuan Andrew Nguyen

Born 1976 in Saigon, Vietnam
Lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
A painting of two people lounging on a couch and reading the newspaper with a colorfully patterned background.


Aliza Nisenbaum

Born 1977 in Mexico City, Mexico
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Various artworks inside wooden compartments


Occupy Museums

(Arthur Polendo, Imani Jacqueline Brown, Kenneth Pietrobono, Noah Fischer, and Tal Beery)
Founded 2011
Grid-like structure of objects hung on wall with framed document and liquor bottle


Pope.L aka William Pope.L

Born 1955 in Newark, NJ
Lives in Chicago, IL
List of twelve months with occult names


Porpentine Charity Heartscape

Born 1987
Lives in Oakland, CA
Fence obscuring view of field



(Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, and Kade L. Twist)
Founded 2007
Person standing on balcony dressed as the Statue of Liberty


Puppies Puppies

Born 1989 in Dallas, TX
Lives in Roswell, NM
Tree branch bathed in purple light


Asad Raza

Born 1974 in Buffalo, NY
Lives in New York, NY
sculptural chair


Jessi Reaves

Born 1986 in Portland, OR
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Sculptures of legs supporting work of art


John Riepenhoff

Born 1982 in Milwaukee, WI
Lives in Milwaukee, WI
Classroom desks and chairs in a gallery.


Chemi Rosado-Seijo

Born 1973 in Vega Alta, PR
Lives in San Juan and Naranjito, PR
Typed document.


Cameron Rowland

Born 1988 in Philadelphia, PA
Lives in Queens, NY
Colorful abstract painting of people and insects


Dana Schutz

Born 1976 in Livonia, MI
Lives in Brooklyn, NY
Two banners. One that reads "I'm so black that I blind you," and another depicting a pencil stabbing an eye.


Cauleen Smith

Born 1967 in Riverside, CA
Lives in Chicago, IL
Painting of the book Censorship Now


Frances Stark

Born 1967 in Newport Beach, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA


Maya Stovall

Born 1982 in Detroit, MI
Lives in Detroit, MI


Henry Taylor

Born 1958 in Oxnard, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
collage of black, white, grey, and metallic images


Leslie Thornton and James Richards

Leslie Thornton
Born 1951 in Oak Ridge, TN
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

James Richards
Born 1983 in Cardiff, United Kingdom
Lives in Berlin, Germany, and London, United Kingdom
Abstract painting in pink, brown, and black


Torey Thornton

Born 1990 in Macon, GA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY


Kaari Upson

Born 1972 in San Bernardino, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA
Dark gallery with abstract images on screens on either side of a doorway.


Kamasi Washington

Born 1981 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA


Leilah Weinraub

Born 1979 in Los Angeles, CA
Lives in Los Angeles, CA and New York, NY
Hooded figure with shadowed face


James N. Kienitz Wilkins

Born in 1983 in Boston, MA
Lives in Brooklyn, NY


Jordan Wolfson

Born 1980 in New York, NY
Lives in New York, NY
Gloved hands slicing flower petals in petri dish


Anicka Yi

Born 1971 in Seoul, South Korea
Lives in Queens, NY


View all

Audio guides

Hear directly from artists and curators on selected works from the exhibition.

View guide

Film Program

For ten consecutive weekends, the Biennial film program will present new moving image works in the Susan and John Hess Family Theater. At once radical and quiet, global and intimate, the selected works explore subjective and affective experiences of the contemporary political and social moment. Reflecting on the urgent themes seen in the exhibition, the film program features some of the most exciting voices working in moving image today.

Each Sunday at 3 pm, the artists will be present for a screening and conversation.

View full schedule

Exhibition Catalogue

The catalogue for the 2017 Biennial features texts and images representing the participants, artists who work in a variety of media including painting, sculpture, photography, film, and performance, as well as essays by the two curators and contributions by the advisors. As a record of the artists and ideas presented in this year’s Biennial, it serves as an essential resource on current trends in contemporary art in the United States.

Read an excerpt from the catalogue

Buy now

Explore works from this exhibition
in the Whitney's collection

View 38 works

In the News

“This exhibition makes an exciting, powerful case for art.”
The New York Times

“Presenting a mélange of American perspectives, the biennial succeeds in keeping a finger on the pulse of a divisive and diverse cultural landscape.”
Apollo Magazine

“The 2017 Whitney Biennial is the best of its kind in some time.”
New York Magazine

“A must-see exhibition for anyone interested in contemporary art, a snapshot of American creativity and sometimes American culture.”

“Everything had to be reinvented for the 2017 Whitney Biennial . . . But then, this leading showcase of contemporary American art feels refreshed in other ways, too.”
The New York Times

“The Whitney revealed the 63 participants in its sprawling survey of what’s happening now in contemporary art—the new, the influential and the potentially provocative.”
The New York Times

“The 2017 Whitney Biennial Will Feature Edgy, Trending Artists in ‘Turbulent’ Times”
artnet News

“The Whitney Biennial, inaugurated by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, still stands out as the pre-eminent biennial in this country.”
The New York Times

More About the Exhibition

The formation of self and the individual’s place in a turbulent society are among the key themes reflected in the work of the artists selected for the 2017 Whitney Biennial. The exhibition includes sixty-three participants, ranging from emerging to well-established individuals and collectives working in painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, film and video, photography, activism, performance, music, and video game design.

The Whitney Biennial is the longest running survey of contemporary art in the United States, with a history of exhibiting the most promising and influential artists and provoking lively debate. The 2017 Biennial is the Museum’s seventy-eighth in a continuous series of Annual and Biennial exhibitions initiated by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932. It is the first to be held in the Whitney’s downtown home at 99 Gansevoort Street, and the largest ever in terms of gallery space.

The 2017 Whitney Biennial is co-curated by Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks.

The film program is organized by Christopher Y. Lew, Mia Locks, and Aily Nash.

Read more about the 2017 Biennial curators and advisors.

Pope.L is the recipient of the 2017 Bucksbaum Award.

Whitney Biennial 2017 is presented by

Major support is provided by


Major support is also provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston and the National Committee of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Significant support is provided by the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation.

Generous support is provided by 2017 Biennial Committee Co-Chairs: Leslie Bluhm, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Bob Gersh, and Miyoung Lee; 2017 Biennial Committee members: Ashley Leeds and Christopher Harland, Diane and Adam E. Max, Teresa Tsai, Suzanne and Bob Cochran, Rebecca and Martin Eisenberg, Amanda and Glenn Fuhrman, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Kourosh Larizadeh and Luis Pardo, Iris Z. Marden, Artur Melentin, Tracy and Gary Mezzatesta, and Jackson Tang; the Henry Peterson Foundation; and anonymous donors.

Additional support provided by the Austrian Federal Chancellery and Phileas – A Fund for Contemporary Art.

Funding is also provided by special Biennial endowments created by Melva Bucksbaum, Emily Fisher Landau, Leonard A. Lauder, and Fern and Lenard Tessler.

Additional endowment support is provided by The Keith Haring Foundation Exhibition Fund, Donna Perret Rosen and Benjamin M. Rosen, and the Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation.

Curatorial research and travel for this exhibition were funded by an endowment established by Rosina Lee Yue and Bert A. Lies, Jr., MD.

New York magazine is the exclusive media sponsor of Whitney Biennial 2017.

More from this series

Learn more about the Whitney Biennial, the longest-running survey of American art.