Whitney Biennial 2022: Artist Installations That Stole the Show
Advisory Perspective

Whitney Biennial 2022: Artist Installations That Stole the Show

New York, 8 April 2022

There is a strong presence of abstraction at this year's edition of the Whitney Biennial. Among the exhibition's reviews, Alex Greenberger in ARTnews suggests this reflects 'a state of life in which figuration is not enough to picture the chaos we all experience.' From James Little's hard-edge minimalism to Woody De Othello's bulging, glossy ceramics, as well as Charles Ray's pensive sculptures, we've selected some of our favourites from the presentation.


Woody De Othello, The will to make things happen (2021). Ceramic, glaze, and bronze on ceramic-tiled plinth. Exhibition view: Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (6 April–5 September 2022). Collection of the artist.

Woody De Othello, The will to make things happen (2021). Ceramic, glaze, and bronze on ceramic-tiled plinth. Exhibition view: Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (6 April–5 September 2022). Collection of the artist. Courtesy the artist; Jessica Silverman, San Francisco; and Karma, New York.

Woody De Othello

With a host of solo exhibitions at galleries and institutions including Jessica Silverman, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, and San Jose Museum of Art since graduating from the California College of the Arts in 2017, Woody De Othello's inclusion in the Whitney Biennial is the latest in a series of milestones.

Often comprising household objects and vessels adorned with arms, legs, and other bodily features, these are ceramic pieces that are filled with life. Humorous and contemplative in equal measure, their references range from jazz and African ceramics to Afrofuturism.

Karma in New York will present a solo exhibition of the artist's work at the end of September this year.


Left to right: Matt Connors, One Wants to Insist Very Strongly (2020); Occult Glossary (2022); I / Fell / Off (after M.S.) (2021). Exhibition view:

Left to right: Matt Connors, One Wants to Insist Very Strongly (2020); Occult Glossary (2022); I / Fell / Off (after M.S.) (2021). Exhibition view: Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (6 April–5 September 2022). Courtesy the artist.

Matt Connors

Matt Connors has been a firm favourite of Ocula Advisory's Rory Mitchell since encountering the artist's work in a solo exhibition at Herald St in London in 2015.

On his 2021 exhibition at Xavier Hufkens, Rory reflected on Connors' 'brilliantly spontaneous handling of paint, including accidental drips and splatters that permeate flat spaces of colour, contributing to the story of their production.'

Until 15 May 2022, Lismore Castle Arts in Ireland are presenting a solo exhibition of the artist's work.


Dyani White Hawk, Wopila|Lineage (2021). Acrylic, glass bugle beads, and synthetic sinew on aluminium panel. 2.4 x 4.3 m. Exhibition view: Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (6 April–5 September 2022). Collection of the artist.

Dyani White Hawk, Wopila|Lineage (2021). Acrylic, glass bugle beads, and synthetic sinew on aluminium panel. 2.4 x 4.3 m. Exhibition view: Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (6 April–5 September 2022). Collection of the artist. Courtesy the artist and Bockley Gallery, Minneapolis, MN.

Dyani White Hawk

Dyani White Hawk's beaded geometric panel is a sight to behold. Combining Lakota beadwork with Western Abstract Expressionist influences, including painters Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman, White Hawk creates unique visual intersections of different cultures.

As curator Candice Hopkins has written, 'It is this gap—the distance between different cultures, histories, and aesthetic traditions—where White Hawk's work oscillates' and by doing so, her pieces 'challenge the blind spots of art history.'


Left to right: James Little, Big Shot, Stars and Stripes, and Exceptional Blacks (all 2021). Exhibition view:

Left to right: James Little, Big Shot, Stars and Stripes, and Exceptional Blacks (all 2021). Exhibition view: Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (6 April–5 September 2022). Collection of the artist. Courtesy the artist and Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago.

James Little

As Holland Cotter observes in The New York Times, in James Little's 'magisterial, all-black, oil-and-wax "Stars and Stripes" (2021), it's hard to say where the bars that make up its geometric pattern are converging or colliding.'

It is the result of James Little's technique, in which raw pigment is combined with heated beeswax to create rich colours, adding a material depth to the tradition of Western abstraction.

Inspired by artists including Alma Thomas, Mark Rothko, and Franz Kline, Little has investigated colour relationships over nearly five decades. In November 2022, a solo exhibition of the artist's work will be on view at Kavi Gupta in Chicago.


Left to right: Charles Ray, Burger (2021); Jeff (2021). Exhibition view: Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (6 April–5 September 2022).

Left to right: Charles Ray, Burger (2021); Jeff (2021). Exhibition view: Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet as It's Kept, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (6 April–5 September 2022). Courtesy the artist.

Charles Ray

Charles Ray is having a moment. Known for working slowly, creating around four works a year, a series of major institutional exhibitions are currently bringing an abundance of his sculptures to publics.

Alongside two exhibitions in Paris at the Centre Pompidou and the Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection and a major survey at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, three of the artist's sculptures are included in the Whitney Biennial.

'Oversize and brooding,' wrote Jerry Saltz in Vulture upon the show's opening, 'they exude an otherness that changes the gravitational fields around them.'


WORKS

Jump Start by James Little contemporary artwork painting
James Little Jump Start, 2016 Raw pigment on canvas
84.5 x 105.4 x 3.8 cm
Kavi Gupta
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Phone Jug by Woody De Othello contemporary artwork sculpture
Woody De Othello Phone Jug, 2020 Ceramic and glaze
109 x 41 x 41 cm
Karma
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Inverted Marquise by Matt Connors contemporary artwork painting
Matt Connors Inverted Marquise, 2021 Acrylic and pencil on canvas
45.7 x 35.6 cm
The Modern Institute
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First Fixed by Matt Connors contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Matt Connors First Fixed, 2021 Acrylic and pencil on canvas
63 x 51 cm
Xavier Hufkens
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Gorilla by James Little contemporary artwork painting
James Little Gorilla, 2019 Oil and wax on linen
182.9 x 182.9 x 3.8 cm
Kavi Gupta
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Remember Amal by James Little contemporary artwork painting
James Little Remember Amal, 2018–2019 Oil on linen
99.1 x 127 x 5.1 cm
Kavi Gupta
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