17 March - 11 June 2017

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York


The 2017 Whitney Biennial, the seventy-eighth installment of the longestrunning survey of American art, features sixty-three individuals and collectives whose work takes a wide variety of forms, from painting and installation to activism and video-game design. Established in 1932, the Biennial has often been a site for critical discussions about contemporary art, while providing an opportunity for deep thinking and reflection on the cultural concerns of a given historical moment. Bringing together mostly new or recent work by both emerging and established artists, the 2017 presentation continues this tradition. 

This Biennial arrives at a time rife with racial tensions, economic inequities, and polarizing politics, and many works in the exhibition challenge us to consider how these realities affect our senses of self and community. Throughout the exhibition, artists test the limits of timeworn structures and protocols, claim space for direct experience and personal agency, and create alternate zones or worlds. Some spotlight particular social issues, such as financial debt, violence, or access to equal opportunities, while others model imaginative ways of relating to history and place, or represent the importance of reverence for the land. Still others embolden the pleasures of slow contemplation or formal abstraction, inviting us to pause and pose questions in a tumultuous world. 

The 2017 Biennial spans the entire fifth and sixth floors, as well as numerous other locations throughout the Museum and outdoor galleries. The Biennial film program presents weekend screenings in the theater on the third floor. And a multimedia guide featuring the voices of many participating artists is available in the lobby.


This will be the first presentation of the Biennial in the Whitney’s new downtown building and it will be curated by the Whitney's Nancy and Fred Poses Associate Curator Christopher Y. Lew and independent curator Mia Locks. The sixth floor of the Biennial closes on July 16, 2017.

Installation view of Whitney Biennial 2017 (Floor 5), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, March 17-June 11, 2017. Photograph by Matthew Carasella.

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