Buyer’s guide to the 2022 Whitney Biennial, from a Turner Prize nominee to an unrepresented provocateur


The Whitney Biennale opened to the public last week, a week after art world luminaries had already flocked to its VIP pre-opening, and decided among themselves which up-and-coming artists wanted to add to their collections by 2022.

The biennale in recent years has been marked by scandals and protests, but this year’s edition – perhaps in keeping with the exhibition’s title “Quiet as It’s Kept” – has yet to ignite the familiar fury of years past. But one thing will never change: collectors have flocked to discover talents who, aided by the stellar power of the prestigious exhibition, are destined to become big names in the art market.

We have identified five artists who are making the buzz at the biennial.

Buck Ellison (born 1987)

Buck Ellison, The only easy day was yesterday, Steyr-Mannlicher Luxus in .027 Winchester, See Statement 11, New Nanny 2003 (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Affiliation to the gallery: No gallery representation.

What there is to know: The San Francisco-born, Los Angeles-based artist draws on the language of ubiquitous advertising imagery and stock photography as a basis for his detailed compositions—staged photographs and video works—that interrogate the ubiquity of white American wealth. From afar, his large-scale pieces could be mistaken for glorifying their subjects with the grandeur of Old Master portraiture, but closer examination reveals telling details that show these works as a critique of white privilege and the mechanisms and social mores that hold it in place. . A lot of research, casting, choreography and set design goes into the artist’s job and so he didn’t do much.

Ellison’s work in the biennial depicts Erik Prince, the ex-Navy SEAL and founder of the private military company Blackwater – which offers mercenaries for hire – on a ranch in Wyoming in 2003. The work is bold to show at the Whitney under board vice chair Pamella DeVos. Erik Prince is the younger brother of DeVos’ sister-in-law and former Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

Most Wanted: Ellison’s prices are quite modest for the scale and complexity of his works, and so all of his projects have sold well.

Price points: Ellison’s current series consists of seven images in editions of five, priced at $22,000 per print or film.

Following: Ellison’s work is presented at the Biennale de Lyon, “Manifesto of Fragility”, from September 14 to December 31.

Naomi Rea

Sable Elyse Smith (born 1986)

Sable Elyse Smith, A MECHANICAL CLOCK (2021).  Photo by Ben Davis.

Sable Elyse Smith, A WATCHMAKING (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Affiliation to the gallery: JTT, New York; Carlos/Ishikawa, London; Regen Projects, Los Angeles

What there is to know: JTT founder Jasmin Tsou described Smith as “a poet working with language, memory and time as mediums to make visible the violence of prison capitalism”. Besides the text-on-page poetry that pervades his artist books, websites, exhibition catalogs, and even his neon murals, the discipline also plays a role in more maximalist pieces like those included in the Whitney Biennial. . LAUGH TRACK, OR WHO IS LOOKING IN MY WINDOW (2021) is a video composed of footage from the crime docudrama “Live PD” (a successor to the infamous “Cops”), edited to “follow known verse or stanza structures in more academic forms of poetry”, said Tsu; A WATCHMAKING (2021) is a gallery-sized Ferris wheel constructed from furniture used in prison visiting rooms whose slow, endless rolling brings forth an eerie meter in three dimensions.

Most Wanted: Tsou said she and other Smith dealers were “lucky that collectors and institutions are interested in a wide range of her practice.” Last February, a virtual booth of the artist’s “Coloring Book” paintings, which riffs on reproduced pages of activity books designed for children brought into contact with the American legal system, sold out on the day of the opening of “OVR: 2021” by Art Basel.

Price points: Up to $100,000 depending on all the work in question. (The eight “Coloring Book” works in the aforementioned OVR ranged from $35,000 for single-panel pieces to $50,000 for diptychs.)

Following: Smith will feature in Cecelia Alemani’s presentation at the Venice Biennale from a few weeks. She will also have solo exhibitions at JTT in September and at Regen Projects in 2023. Works from her “Coloring Book” series will appear in the group exhibition “To Begin Again: Artists and Childhood” at ICA Boston in October 2023.

—Tim Schneider

Rick Lowe (born 1961)

Rock Lowe, Project Row Houses: if artists are creative, why can't they create solutions?  (2021).  Photo by Ben Davis.

Roche Lowe, Project Row Houses: If artists are creative, why can’t they create solutions? (2021). Photo by Ben Davis.

Affiliation to the gallery: Gagosian Gallery

What there is to know: Early in his career, Lowe focused heavily on painting, but he says he quickly rebelled against the medium in the way it was taught to him, and was not up to it. comfortable with the way “painting worked in the art world”. He then turned to social practice and in 1993 co-founded Project Row Houses in Houston’s Third Ward, alongside fellow artists James Bettison, Bert Long, Jr., Jesse Lott, Floyd Newsum, Bert Samples , George Smith and other locals, to establish a cultural community. neighborhood in a block and a half of abandoned houses.

The title of the work above refers to a moment early in Lowe’s career when a teenager on a studio visit asked a pointed question: “If artists are creative, why can’t they not create solutions? The artist uses the game of dominoes as the basis for his paintings, photographing and then tracing the patterns created by the games. He says he finds playing dominoes to be “an incredibly spiritual and educational experience”.

Most Wanted: All works on canvas.

Price points: $65,000 to $125,000 in the primary market and rising. A source familiar with the market cited prices above $300,000 in the secondary market.

Following: Lowe will have his first solo exhibition with Gagosian in September.

Eileen Kinsella

Veronica Ryan (born 1956)

Installation view of work by Veronica Ryan (left) at the 2022 Whitney Biennial: "Quiet as it is kept" (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, April 6-September 5, 2022).  Photograph by Ron Amstutz

Installation view of work by Veronica Ryan (left) at the 2022 Whitney Biennale: ‘Quiet as It’s Kept’ (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, April 6-September 5, 2022). Photograph by Ron Amstutz.

Affiliation to the gallery: Paula Cooper, New York

What there is to know: Born on the Caribbean island of Montserrat, a British territory, Ryan uses made and found materials to examine themes of migration, history, identity and belonging. His meticulously handcrafted works are usually composed of materials that reference his Afro-Caribbean heritage and upbringing in the UK Last year, Ryan was commissioned to create a permanent sculpture in the East London neighborhood of Hackney to celebrate the migrant workers, known as the Windrush Generation, who have flocked to the UK from the Caribbean. The artwork depicts three larger-than-life Caribbean fruits and vegetables: Custard Apple (Annonaceae), Breadfruit (Moraceae) and Soursop (Annonaceae) (2021). The artist has just been shortlisted for the prestigious Turner Prize.

Most Wanted: “His works have been embraced in their totality” from the intimate to the large format, according to a representative of the Paula Cooper Gallery.

Price points: $6,000 for a small bundle sculpture to $100,000 for a large bronze sculpture.

Following: Ryan’s solo exhibition ‘Along a Spectrum’ at Paula Cooper in Chelsea runs until May 28, with works alluding to his heritage with materials such as fishing lines, rolled and stretched blankets, netting and nuts. Another solo exhibition will follow in the autumn at the Alison Jacques Gallery in London, coinciding with a group exhibition “Radical Landscapes” by the four shortlisted artists for the Turner Prize at the Tate Liverpool, starting October 20.

Katia Kazakina

Aria Dean (born in 1993)

Jason Rhoades, Sutter's Mill (2000) and Aria Dean, Little Island/Gut Punch (2022).  Photo by Ben Davis.

Jason Rhoades, Sutter’s Mill (2000) and Aria Dean, Little Island / Gut Punch (2022). Photo by Ben Davis.

Gallery Affiliation: Greene Naftali

What there is to know: A consummate multi-hyphen, Aria Dean is a writer, sculptor, curator, theater producer, and occasional Eckhaus Latta model. She is best known for her 3D-printed silicone brain sculptures, which she calls “impossible objects”, alluding to their ability to challenge IRL perception of an object through the manipulation that occurs through digital techniques. His biennial piece uses the crash and collapse sequences in 3D modeling to create a silicone structure that appears to be perforated in the gut. Dean also works in film, as his video installation at the 2020 edition of Made in LA at the Hammer Museum solidified the 29-year-old Brooklynite as someone to watch.

Most Wanted: Dean’s sculptures have been exhibited in New York twice this year ahead of the biennale, once in January at Greene Naftali, and again at the annual White Columns, curated by Mary Manning.

Price points: The gallery declined to specify prices, but according to an adviser, his work sold for between $20,000 and $30,000 at Frieze Los Angeles.

Following: Chateau Shatto will present a solo stand of her work at Art Basel in Switzerland, and in May she will participate in a symposium in Paris organized by the Sorbonne, Columbia University and the Center Pompidou, entitled “Reshaping our Digital Interactions: Subjectivity at the post-cinema era.This fall, the CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux will host its next institutional exhibition.

—Annie Armstrong

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay one step ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive breaking news, revealing interviews and incisive reviews that move the conversation forward.


Comments are closed.