Whitney Biennial 2022: 
Quiet as It’s Kept

Apr 6–Oct 16, 2022

The Whitney Biennial has surveyed the landscape of American art, reflecting and shaping the cultural conversation, since 1932. The eightieth edition of the landmark exhibition is co-curated by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Initiatives, and Adrienne Edwards, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs. Titled Quiet as It’s Kept, the 2022 Biennial features an intergenerational and interdisciplinary group of sixty-three artists and collectives whose dynamic works reflect the challenges, complexities, and possibilities of the American experience today.

Read more about the exhibition in a statement by the curators.

View performance series.

En Español

Desde 1932, la Bienal del Whitney ha examinado el panorama del arte estadounidense, reflejando y dando forma a la conversación cultural. La octogésima edición de esta emblemática exhibición está co-curada por David Breslin y Adrienne Edwards. La Bienal 2022 titulada: Quiet as It's Kept (Aunque nadie diga nada), presenta un grupo intergeneracional e interdisciplinario de sesenta y tres artistas y colectivos, cuyas dinámicas obras reflejan los retos, complejidades y posibilidades de la experiencia americana actual.

Nos complace ofrecer los siguientes recursos y programas en español para la Bienal 2022: una guía portátil, traducciones de todos los videos relacionados a la exposición, visitas guiadas gratuitas de la exposición, y visitas guiadas gratuitas para las escuelas públicas de la ciudad de Nueva York. Todos los textos descriptivos de la exposición estarán en inglés y español en el Museo.


97 / 63

Previous Next

Jason Rhoades


Performance Dates
Fridays, April 8–September 3
Learn more

Floor 5 and Pamella and Daniel DeVos Family Largo

Born 1965 in Newcastle, CA
Died 2006 in Los Angeles, CA

Assembled and dismantled over the course of the Biennial, Sutter’s Mill is based on the California sawmill where the 1848 discovery of gold set off the California Gold Rush. A decade later, this land was purchased by Nancy and Peter Gooch, a formerly enslaved couple who eventually owned more than four hundred acres that were ultimately taken by the state under eminent domain laws to build a public park. Jason Rhoades remarked: “Once they realized that it was gold, the whole world shifted. All of a sudden, they saw gold everywhere. . . . When something comes into focus, you see it. And this is like in a garden . . . where these things grow . . . when they become ripe, the whole system becomes literally and physically fruitful.” The installation brings the conditions of manual working-class labor into dialogue with the United States’s history of wealth accumulation and financial speculation. It also symbolizes the constant tension between order and disorder, creation and destruction, that is involved in the process of making art. The structure of Sutter’s Mill is built out of the wood platforms and aluminum poles repurposed from Rhoades’s monumental sculpture Perfect World (2001).

Rhoades made art out of a diverse array of objects and elements, including cars. He saw the vehicles, especially this 1992 Chevrolet Caprice—a common model widely used for state, commercial, and civilian purposes—as an extension of his studio. Operating as readymades, cars played an essential role in Rhoades’s thinking and in his work. The Caprice is part of a group of works he called “Autopursuits” or “Car Projects,” which also included a Fiero, a Ligier, a Skinned Fiero, a Ferrari, and an Impala. The Caprice was purchased in 1996 with the CAPC musée d’art contemporain in Bordeaux, France, for the exhibition Traffic and was later traded for a Ferrari. Of the central role of cars in his work, Rhoades said: “It’s not about an emotional attachment to all cars or one car. I have an attachment to certain machines and tools. I see cars as tools. They are very much part of my work, but also act like real things in the real world. The most important thing about cars in my work is that they are never decorated. It’s not about artists’ cars, it’s more like a pipe or a functional object in the real world. . . . What is also very important is that things have their own momentum, and they have their own perpetual motion. That’s the romantic idea with an engine or with a work of art that exists on its own.”

Sutter’s Mill, 2000

  • 0:00

    Jason Rhoades, Caprice


    Narrator: Jason Rhoades died in 2006. Adrienne Edwards is the Engell Speyer Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Whitney. She says she selected his work for inclusion in the exhibition because it speaks to the current cultural moment.

    Adrienne Edwards: The Caprice is a car that Jason was immediately drawn to, the fact that it had served as the car for so many federal and state employees, particularly the police, that it also was a car that was converted from a police car into taxis. And we think about how the gig economy has, in a city like New York, impacted the taxi industry. There have been real calamities around that, so here's a work that he created in the nineties that actually was quite prescient and relevant to today.

    But also that it was about an almost romantic idea about the engine and mobility and expansion and the way it’s all bound up in our ideas of freedom and also individuality. And I think for Rhoades it’s not about a kind of emotional attachment to cars or any one car, but it’s about them as machines and as tools. Making the work, the car becomes this liminal space for him, between his studio and then all the places he would go visit to source materials all over Los Angeles for his installations.

    It could be very easy to ask: why put Jason Rhodes in the Biennial at this moment? There was an article in The New Yorker in 2017 and the title of this piece is “An L.A. Artist Who Anticipated Our Trumpian Moment.” And I remember seeing that and thinking that that was precisely right.

    Narrator: Rhoades described the project to the curator Hans Ulrich-Obrist, while driving in one of the cars.

    Jason Rhoades: They are based in tools, the idea of a tool for perception or a vehicle for thinking. You know like a vehicle as a, not a motorized vehicle necessarily, but like a medium. You know like in paint is powder right and you use a medium which is either an oil or linseed, you know the vehicle which the color is transported in. So I use it, my interest is in how and what and why it transports things and how it can be used as a tool for certain perceptions. The tool for hauling physical things, a tool for hauling mental things and also a tool to be used to propel yourself through space. I mean I look at objects, I mean I’m incredibly interested in Duchamp in that way, I mean he put the readymade into an art context but then I believe we can put it back to work, to where objects can have simultaneous meanings, simultaneous levels, at all points in time, you know the object that you buy at the store, the gesture of buying it is an incredibly sculptural gesture, and the gesture of consuming it, putting it in your car, the gesture of opening the box, the gesture of putting it in the work of art, you know is all very, very important part of sculptural process.

  • 0:00

    Jason Rhoades, Caprice


    Narrator: Jason Rhoades falleció en 2006. Adrienne Edwards es la curadora Engell Speyer Family y la directora de Asuntos Curatoriales del Whitney. Ella señala que seleccionó la obra de Rhoades para incluirla en la exposición porque da cuenta del momento cultural actual.

    Adrienne Edwards: El Caprice es un coche por el que Jason se sintió inmediatamente atraído, ya que había sido el coche de tantos empleados federales y estatales, sobre todo de la policía, y también porque pasó de ser un coche de policía a ser un taxi. Y pensamos en cómo la economía de trabajos esporádicos en una ciudad como Nueva York ha afectado la industria del taxi. Ha habido auténticas calamidades en torno a eso, así que aquí tenemos una obra que el artista creó en los noventa y que resultó ser bastante profética y relevante para la actualidad.

    Pero también se trataba de una noción casi romántica del motor, de la movilidad y de la expansión, y del modo en que todo eso está ligado a nuestras ideas de libertad y de individualidad. Y creo que para Rhoades, no se trata de una especie de apego emocional a los coches o a un coche en particular, sino que se trata de pensarlos como máquinas y como herramientas. Al crear la obra, el coche se convierte en un espacio liminal para él, entre su estudio y todos los lugares que visitaba en Los Ángeles para conseguir materiales para sus instalaciones.

    Podría ser muy fácil preguntarse por qué situar a Jason Rhodes en este lugar o en este momento. Hubo un artículo en el New Yorker en 2017 titulado “Un artista de Los Ángeles que anticipó nuestro momento trumpiano”. Y recuerdo haberlo visto y pensar que se trataba de exactamente eso.

    Narrator: Rhoades le describió el proyecto al curador Hans Ulrich-Obrist mientras iba en uno de los coches.

    Jason Rhoades: Está basado en las herramientas, en la idea de una herramienta de percepción o un vehículo para el pensamiento. Ya sabes, no necesariamente un vehículo motorizado, sino un vehículo como medio. Así como en la pintura, que es polvo, se utiliza un medio que puede ser un aceite o semillas de lino; es el vehículo en el que se transporta el color. En ese sentido, me interesa el cómo, el qué y el por qué transporta las cosas, y cómo se puede utilizar como herramienta para determinadas percepciones. Una herramienta para transportar cosas físicas, una herramienta para transportar cosas mentales y también una herramienta para impulsarse por el espacio. Quiero decir, miro los objetos. En verdad me interesa muchísimo Duchamp en ese sentido, el modo en que puso el objeto encontrado, el ready-made, en un contexto artístico. Pero también creo que podemos volver a ponerlos en funcionamiento, hacer que esos objetos tengan significados simultáneos y niveles simultáneos en todo momento. Sabes, ese objeto que compras en la tienda, el gesto de comprarlo es un gesto increíblemente escultural, el gesto de consumirlo, de ponerlo en tu coche, el gesto de abrir la caja, el gesto de colocarlo en tu obra de arte. Todo eso es una parte muy, muy importante del proceso escultórico.


View all

Audio guides

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

View guide

Exhibition Catalogue

The 2022 Whitney Biennial is accompanied by this landmark volume. Each of the Biennial’s participants is represented by a selected exhibition history, a bibliography, and imagery complemented by a personal statement or interview that foregrounds the artist’s own voice. Essays by the curators and other contributors elucidate themes of the exhibition and discuss the participants. The 2022 Biennial’s two curators, David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards, are known for their close collaboration with living artists. Coming after several years of seismic upheaval in and beyond the cultural, social, and political landscapes, this catalogue will offer a new take on the storied institution of the Biennial while continuing to serve—as previous editions have—as an invaluable resource on present-day trends in contemporary art in the United States.

Buy now

Explore works from this exhibition
in the Whitney's collection

View 33 works

In the News

"After three years of soul-rattling history, this year’s survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art is reflective and adult-thinking."—The New York Times

". . . the exhibition offers a mix of styles, practices and perspectives that invite contemplation, conversation and return engagements."—Gothamist

". . . a tender, understated survey of the American art scene as it stands right now that also acts as a means of processing the grief of the last two years."ARTnews

". . . if this Biennial doesn’t feel quite like it can let itself go fully wild, there is also a quiet weirdness to it that sincerely reflects the disorienting headspace of the present, and that is worth the trip."Artnet News

"Delayed for a year by the pandemic, the show is exciting without being especially pleasurable—it’s geared toward thought."The New Yorker

". . . the show feels serious and thoughtful throughout, as if dire times require us to forgo old strategies of confrontation and performative anger and get down to the hard work of understanding the world."—The Washington Post

"Revelling in difference—not just of opinion but of style, focus, and approach, it pushes for meaningful exchanges between objects and viewers alike."—Ocula

"An ambitious survey of American art that locates both hope and precarity in the mutability of the present moment."—4Columns

"The 63 artists’ works interact with one another, offering alinear, yet continuous conversation through the psyche and also the pits of our stomachs."—Flaunt

"The exhibition mimics the range of emotions we felt during the past two years, from fear and pain to joy and hope, and everything in between."—Time Out New York

". . . this year’s offering, even with the inclusion of deceased artists, radiates with the power of now."—Vulture

Curatorial Statement
By David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards

Since the start of the pandemic, time has expanded, contracted, suspended, and blurred—often in dizzying succession. We began planning this Biennial in late 2019: before Covid and its reeling effects, before the uprisings demanding racial justice, before the widespread questioning of institutions and their structures, before the 2020 presidential election. Although underlying conditions are not new, their overlap, their intensity, and their sheer ubiquity created a context in which past, present, and future folded into one another. We organized this Biennial to reflect these precarious and improvised times. Many artists’ contributions are dynamic, taking different forms during the course of the exhibition. Artworks change, walls move, and performances animate the galleries and surrounding objects. The spaces of the Biennial contrast significantly, acknowledging the acute polarity of our society. One floor is a labyrinth, a dark space of containment; another is a clearing, open and light filled.

Rather than offering a unified theme, we pursue a series of hunches throughout the exhibition: that abstraction demonstrates a tremendous capacity to create, share, and sometimes withhold meaning; that research-driven conceptual art can combine the lushness of ideas and materiality; that personal narratives sifted through political, literary, and pop cultures can address larger social frameworks; that artworks can complicate the meaning of “American” by addressing the country’s physical and psychological boundaries; and that our present moment can be reimagined by engaging with under-recognized artistic models and artists we have lost. Deliberately intergenerational and interdisciplinary, this Biennial proposes that cultural, aesthetic, and political possibility begins with meaningful exchange and reciprocity.

The subtitle of this Biennial, Quiet as It’s Kept, is a colloquialism. We were inspired by the ways novelist Toni Morrison, jazz drummer Max Roach, and artist David Hammons have invoked it in their works. The phrase is typically said prior to something—often obvious—that should be kept secret. We also adorned the exhibition with a symbol, ) (, from a N. H. Pritchard poem, on view in the exhibition, as a gesture toward openness and interlude. All of the Whitney’s Biennials serve as forums for artists, and the works on view reflect their enigmas, the things that perplex them, and the important questions they are asking. But each of the Biennials also exists as an institutional statement, and every team of curators is entrusted with making an exhibition that resides within the Museum’s history, collection, and reputation. In its eightieth iteration, the Biennial continues to function as an ongoing experiment.

Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept is co-organized by David Breslin, DeMartini Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Initiatives, and Adrienne Edwards, Engell Speyer Family Curator and Director of Curatorial Affairs, with Mia Matthias, Curatorial Assistant; Gabriel Almeida Baroja, Curatorial Project Assistant; and Margaret Kross, former Senior Curatorial Assistant.

Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept is presented by


Generous support is provided by


Generous support is also provided by Judy Hart Angelo; The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston; Elaine Graham Weitzen Foundation for Fine Arts; Lise and Michael Evans; John R. Eckel, Jr. Foundation; Kevin and Rosemary McNeely, Manitou Fund; The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation; The Rosenkranz Foundation; Anne-Cecilie Engell Speyer and Robert Speyer; and the Whitney's National Committee.

Major support is provided by The Keith Haring Foundation Exhibition Fund, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

Significant support is provided by 2022 Biennial Committee Co-Chairs: Jill Bikoff, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Miyoung Lee, Bernard Lumpkin, Julie Mehretu, Fred Wilson; 2022 Biennial Committee Members: Philip Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons, Sarah Arison and Thomas Wilhelm, Candy and Michael Barasch, James Keith (JK) Brown and Eric Diefenbach, Eleanor and Bobby Cayre, Alexandre and Lori Chemla, Suzanne and Bob Cochran, Jenny Brorsen and Richard DeMartini, Fairfax Dorn and Marc Glimcher, Stephen Dull, Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg, Melanie Shorin and Greg S. Feldman, Jeffrey & Leslie Fischer Family Foundation, Cindy and Mark Galant, Christy and Bill Gautreaux, Debra and Jeffrey Geller Family Foundation, Aline and Gregory Gooding, Janet and Paul Hobby, Harry Hu, Peter H. Kahng, Michèle Gerber Klein, Ashley Leeds and Christopher Harland, Dawn and David Lenhardt, Jason Li, Marjorie Mayrock, Stacey and Robert Morse, Daniel Nadler, Opatrny Family Foundation, Orentreich Family Foundation, Nancy and Fred Poses, Marylin Prince, Eleanor Heyman Propp, George Wells and Manfred Rantner, Martha Records and Richard Rainaldi, Katie and Amnon Rodan, Jonathan M. Rozoff, Linda and Andrew Safran, Subhadra and Rohit Sahni, Erica and Joseph Samuels, Carol and Lawrence Saper, Allison Wiener and Jeffrey Schackner, Jack Shear, Annette and Paul Smith, the Stanley and Joyce Black Family Foundation, Robert Stilin, Rob and Eric Thomas-Suwall, and Patricia Villareal and Tom Leatherbury; as well as the Alex Katz Foundation, Further Forward Foundation, the Kapadia Equity Fund, Gloria H. Spivak, and an anonymous donor.

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

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.

More from this series

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