But let’s start on a positive note: all the way up on the Whitney’s 6th-floor outdoor patio, lashed by wind and cold rain during Monday’s press preview. Here you’ll find one of the Whitney Biennial’s only true showstoppers, an epic sculpture by
(2019). A parade of migratory humanoids is caught mid-journey, possibly in the process of transporting a series of modernist-looking metal sculptures on plinths.
Every element of this sprawling piece is a delight, from the lovingly sculpted cartoonish genitals to the puffs of steam randomly emitted from unexpected orifices. Procession recalls a heroic journey from millennia past, but idiosyncratic Easter eggs abound: a Kryptonite bike lock here, a pair of New York Giants socks there. The funny, complicated sculpture is comfortable juggling sophomoric fart humor with reflections on power, bondage, servitude, and the pomposity of religion—and art, for that matter. A bumper sticker on the back of the cart reads “How’s My Sculpting? Call 1-800-EAT-SHIT.” Procession’s very placement is a stroke of genius: just outside of the museum proper, as if the procession wasn’t quite able to make it to the halls of culture.
Inside, it’s warmer and drier, but also a little predictable. The ghost of
hangs heavy over work by
: photo transfers, quilt-like collages of material, and evocative detritus (other artist’s press releases, political buttons, deconstructed bits of clothing).