Whitney Biennial 2024: A Look Beyond Reality

The Whitney Biennial 2024, themed “Even Better Than the Real Thing,” is a lively event held by the Whitney Museum of American Art from March 20 to August 11, 2024.

The Biennial features 71 artists and collectives from various backgrounds, blending new talents with seasoned artists.
Artworks delve into themes of place, power, reality, and inclusion, questioning what's considered "real" and who's marginalized.
Beyond the exhibition, the Biennial engages with communities through programs for families, schools, and teens, enhancing the public's connection and understanding of contemporary art.

Whitney Biennial 2024: “Even Better Than the Real Thing”

The Whitney Biennial 2024, themed “Even Better Than the Real Thing,” is a lively event showcasing various modern art. Held by the Whitney Museum of American Art from March 20 to August 11, 2024, this event is the 81st edition of America’s longest-running art survey.

A New Kind of Body Art and Conceptual Pieces

This year’s Biennial introduces a new wave of body art, diverging from the practices seen in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s not just about the physical; it explores identity, marginalization, and the essence of being considered “the real thing” in a society that often sidelines certain groups. The exhibition includes works that address disability, discrimination, and Indigenous resilience through various mediums, including sculpture, video installations, and abstract paintings​​.

A Group of Creative Artists

This year, the Biennial presents 71 artists and groups from different fields and uses various forms of media. Some of the highlighted works include: 

  • Takako Yamaguchi: Her work blends abstraction with representation, offering seascapes that intertwine nature with intricate patterns. Yamaguchi’s art challenges traditional views on art history by incorporating elements from various artistic traditions, from Japanese woodblock prints to Mexican murals​​.
  • Dala Nasser: In “Adonis River,” Nasser explores themes of mourning and the complexity of place through a large-scale installation that combines architecture, painting, and sculpture. The work draws from the mythological figure Adonis, weaving together narratives of beauty, death, and resurrection​​.
  • Mavis Pusey: Pusey, an artist who passed away in 2019, is celebrated for her geometric abstractions that touch upon urban development and the experience of a Black female abstract artist in a predominantly white male art scene of the 1970s​​.
  • Ektor Garcia: Garcia’s art delves into themes of labor, migration, and identity through woven sculptural installations. His work incorporates a variety of materials, from copper wire to horsehair, reflecting his cross-border experiences and drawing from a rich tapestry of craft traditions​​.

New Views and Questions

The 2024 Biennial challenges the usual ways of showing art, asking tough questions about art’s role and nature. For example, Nikita Gale’s modified baby grand player piano and Charisse Pearlina Weston’s sculpture ponder entertainment, confrontation, and how art reflects society’s big questions.

More Than Just an Exhibition

The Biennial isn’t just about what’s on display. It also connects with the community through programs for families, schools, and teens. These efforts aim to strengthen the link between the public and the artists’ work, helping people understand and value modern art more deeply.

Grace Angelique

An accomplished Art News Journalist with a decade of experience, Grace has passionately covered global art events, exhibitions, and emerging trends. With a keen eye for aesthetics and a pulse on the art world's undercurrents, Grace has crafted compelling narratives that bridge art and its societal impacts. Her work has graced major publications, offering readers a fresh perspective on contemporary art and its evolving landscape.

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