ROUND-UP June 4-27, 2019

New writing for the month of June! An essay on the Whitney Biennial, two art reviews, and a movie review!
"One of the reasons I knew I needed to see the 2019 Whitney Biennial is because I wanted to know how a large institution—which must necessarily change slowly—was going to position itself amidst both internal and external turmoil. Rather than showing contemporary American art at its best and brightest, which is ostensibly the goal, the biennial has peaks and valleys, moments of triumph and moments of disappointment bumping up against one another and jostling for attention."
"While some of the works in the exhibit deal with macro, big picture issues, some delve into the incredibly specific — like trash found in Philadelphia. We’ve traveled from looking at the sky through naked eyes, through a telescope, and into looking for answers with the internet."
"What’s unsettling and fascinating about Us, Forever Ago, is that at no point can you be entirely sure that you’re watching anything documentary. How much of what Clinton, Mcloughlin, Porter, and Frank are telling us is scripted? Are these conversations the actual original interview footage, or have they been re-staged for the purposes of this film? How much of Varina’s own confusion and pensiveness about living and working as an artist are heightened and exaggerated for Us, Forever Ago, and how much are her honest internal deliberations?"
"The compositions are, at times, counter-intuitive in their professed appreciation of the natural world. Wilke’s gum interventions, ranging from cleverly camouflaged to cheekily visible, seem like they’re technically forms of littering, of negative human actions performed upon the earth. I think of the story they tell you when you’re a little kid: that if you swallow a stick of gum, it stays in your stomach for seven years. And even though Wilke probability cleaned up the gum after she completed her photographs, these works make you wonder how long gum on a rock, or on a plant stalk, lasts when there’s no stomach acid to wear it away."

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