Artists for the next Whitney Biennial announced

The late Trinidad-born artist Denyse Thomasos will be part of the show: Birdie, 2009, acrylic on canvas

The artists of the Whitney Biennial have been announced. Sixty-three artists will show under the title Quiet as It’s Kept, a colloquialism which has appeared in the work of jazz drummer Max Roach, novelist Toni Morrison and artist David Hammons.

Used by some Black Americans it refers to a way of gossiping, Roach recorded a 1960 track and album under the title, while Morrison used the phrase in The Bluest Eye (1970), her first novel. In 2002 Hammons curated a group show using the phrase.

Most of the 63 are American or US-based, though artists from Mexico and who are Mexico-based also feature.

Delayed by a year, curators David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards said that they began planning the show before the 2020 US presidential elections, the pandemic and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement. ‘While many of these underlying conditions are not new, their overlapping, intensity, and sheer ubiquity created a context in which past, present, and future folded into one another. We’ve organized the exhibition to reflect these precarious and improvised times. The Biennial primarily serves as a forum for artists, and the works that will be presented reflect their enigmas, the things that perplex them, the important questions they are asking.’

Inaugurated in 1973, the biennial has long been a focus point of controversy, often surrounding issues of race and gender. In 1987, the show was protested by the Guerrilla Girls for its alleged sexism and racism. While the 1993 Whitney Biennial was the most diverse exhibit by a major American museum up to that point, just 9 out of the 109 artists showing in the 2014 Whitney Biennial were Black, precipitating The YAMS Collective to withdraw from the show.

A painting by Dana Schutz, Open Casket (2016), which showed Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955, caused uproar, as well as arguments in support, at the 2017 biennial. Last year a number of artists again withdrew from the show, this time in protest of the presence of Warren Kanders on the museum’s board. Kanders’s company Safariland sold military supplies including teargas and bullets. It has since sold that division.

The full artist list for this year’s show, which opens 6 April, is as follows:

Lisa Alvarado
Born 1982 in San Antonio
Lives in Chicago

Harold Ancart
Born 1980 in Brussels
Lives in New York

Mónica Arreola
Born 1976 in Tijuana, Mexico
Lives in Tijuana, Mexico

Emily Barker
Born 1992 in San Diego
Lives in Los Angeles

Yto Barrada
Born 1971 in Paris
Lives in Brooklyn, NY, and Tangier, Morocco

Rebecca Belmore
Born 1960 in Upsala, Canada
Lives in Vancouver, Canada Anishinaabe

Jonathan Berger
Born 1980 in New York
Lives in New York and Glover, VT

Nayland Blake
Born 1960 in New York
Lives in Brooklyn and Queens, NY

Cassandra Press
Founded 2016 by Kandis Williams

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha
Born 1951 in Busan, South Korea
Died 1982 in New York

Raven Chacon
Born 1977 in Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation
Lives in Albuquerque, NMDiné

Leidy Churchman
Born 1979 in Villanova, PA
Lives in New York and West Tremont, ME

Tony Cokes
Born 1956 in Richmond, VA
Lives in Providence, RI

Jacky Connolly
Born 1990 in New York
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Matt Connors
Born 1973 in Chicago
Lives in New York and Los Angeles

Alex Da Corte
Born 1980 in Camden, NJ
Lives in Philadelphia

Aria Dean
Born 1993 in Los Angeles
Lives in New York

Danielle Dean
Born 1982 in Huntsville, AL
Lives in Los Angeles and San Diego

Jane Dickson
Born 1952 in Chicago
Lives in New York

Buck Ellison
Born 1987 in San Francisco
Lives in Los Angeles

Alia Farid
Born 1985 in Kuwait City
Lives in San Juan, PR, and Kuwait City

Coco Fusco
Born 1960 in New York
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Ellen Gallagher
Born 1965 in Providence, RI
Lives in Rotterdam and Brooklyn, NY

A Gathering of the Tribes /Steve Cannon
Founded 1991
Steve Cannon: Born 1935 in New Orleans
Died 2019 in New York

Cy Gavin
Born 1985 in Pittsburgh
Lives in New York State

Adam Gordon
Born 1986 in Minneapolis
Lives in Jersey City, NJ

Renée Green
Born 1959 in Cleveland
Lives in Somerville, MA, and New York

Pao Houa Her
Born 1982 in Laos
Lives in Blaine, MN

EJ Hill
Born 1985 in Los Angeles
Lives in Los Angeles

Alfredo Jaar
Born 1956 in Santiago, Chile
Lives in New York

Rindon Johnson 
Born 1990 in San Francisco
Lives in Berlin

Ivy Kwan Arce and Julie Tolentino
Ivy Kwan Arce: Born 1965 in Salinas, CA
Lives in New York
Julie Tolentino: Born 1964 in San Francisco
Lives in Joshua Tree, CA

Ralph Lemon
Born 1952 in Cincinnati
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Duane Linklater
Born 1976 in Treaty 9 Territory (Northern Ontario, Canada)
Lives in North Bay, Canada (Robinson Huron Treaty Territory)Omaskêko Ininiwak

James Little
Born 1952 in Memphis
Lives in New York

Rick Lowe
Born 1961 in rural Alabama
Lives in Houston

Daniel Joseph Martinez
Born 1957 in Los Angeles
Lives in Los Angeles and Paris

Dave McKenzie
Born 1977 in Kingston, Jamaica
Lives in Brooklyn, NY

Rodney McMillian
Born 1969 in Columbia, SC
Lives in Los Angeles

Na Mira
Born 1982 in Lawrence, KS, on Kickapoo, Osage, Kansa, and Sioux lands
Lives in Los Angeles on Tongva, Gabrielino, Kizh, and Chumash lands

Alejandro “Luperca” Morales
Born 1990 in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Lives in Monterrey, Mexico

Moved by the Motion
Founded 2016 by Wu Tsang and Tosh Basco

Terence Nance
Born 1982 in Dallas
Lives in America

Woody De Othello
Born 1991 in Miami
Lives in Oakland, CA

Adam Pendleton
Born 1984 in Richmond, VA
Lives in New York

N.H. Pritchard
Born 1939 in New York
Died 1996 in eastern Pennsylvania

Lucy Raven
Born 1977 in Tucson, AZ
Lives in New York

Charles Ray
Born 1953 in Chicago
Lives in Los Angeles

Jason Rhoades
Born 1965 in Newcastle, CA
Died 2006 in Los Angeles

Andrew Roberts
Born 1995 in Tijuana, Mexico
Lives in Mexico City and Tijuana, Mexico

Guadalupe Rosales
Born 1980 in Redwood City, CA
Lives in Los Angeles

Veronica Ryan
Born 1956 in Plymouth, Montserrat
Lives in London and New York

Rose Salane 
Born 1992 in New York
Lives in Queens, NY

Michael E. Smith
Born 1977 in Detroit
Lives in Providence, RI

Sable Elyse Smith 
Born 1986 in Los Angeles
Lives in New York

Awilda Sterling-Duprey 
Born 1947 in San Juan, PR
Lives in San Juan, PR

Rayyane Tabet
Born 1983 in Beirut
Lives in Beirut and San Francisco

Denyse Thomasos
Born 1964 in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago 
Died 2012 in New York

Trinh T. Minh-ha
Born in Hanoi, Vietnam, 
Lives in Berkeley, CA

Wang Shui
Born 1986 in USA
Lives in New York

Eric Wesley
Born 1973 in Los Angeles
Lives in Los Angeles

Dyani White Hawk
Born 1976 in Madison, WI
Lives in Minneapolis

Kandis Williams
Born 1985 in Baltimore
Lives in Los Angeles and Brooklyn, NY

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