State of the Art World

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The Whitney Biennial art show on Madison Avenue has come to stand for provocative marketing that may or may not be art. An exhibit this spring called “Sanitation” uses garbage cans, marching sounds and quotes by Mayor Rudy Guiliani in a nazi typeface to answer last fall’s “Sensation” show at the Brooklyn Museum.

Marylou Whitney, one of the museum’s chief benefactors, says she is so outraged by the work she’s not making any more donations. This is what gives the art critic Jed Perl the Whitney blahs this time of year: art installed for political shock value and headlines.

All over New York, he says, art glam, art hype, art stars and art multiplexes are snuffing the thrilling real life from the world of serious, contemporary artists. There’s little shelf or gallery space for artistic imagination or the magic/power of seeing a free standing work of art.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Jed Perl