As this year’s Whitney Biennial folds its tent and drifts away let us remember that, if it did nothing else, it gave people an opportunity to say something that they’ve been saying for years: curators are now artists. Or they are acting like artists, treating works of art as readymade bits and pieces to be arranged in mega- (or meta-) works at the scale of the museum. I suppose the medium is assemblage and I suppose the rationale is that, these days, a work of art often looks like a curated conglomeration of objects, styles, and themes, so why not scale it up? Why not give an entire exhibit the neither-here-nor-there look of a single, super-hip artwork’s survey of currently viable options? And if “currently viable options” sounds bureaucratic, well . . . how else should it sound?
I’m sure I have more to say about the Biennial but I’m not sure, at this point, what that might be. For now I’ll just note that I like this image of Kermit the Frog from Keith Mayerson’s only vaguely curated salon-style conglomeration of all sorts of images gathered from various points on the cultural map.
“Gone with the Schwinn,” from Keith Mayerson, My American Dream
This picture now has a secure place beside my memories of Arthur Rackham’s illustrations of Wind in the Willows. I love illustration—rather, I love it if it’s lovable. See below. And see this, for more of Kermit.
Arthur Rackham, illustration for The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame