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Fine Arts Program sponsors trip to the 2014 Whitney Biennial

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Fine Arts Program sponsors trip to the 2014 Whitney Biennial

Text by Alexandra Lotz. Photos by Joshua Mosley.

My first thought was, “how convenient.” I had been trying to figure out how I would find a day to get to the Whitney Biennial. I’d heard from friends that this year’s was interesting, and that a few Penn faculty members had pieces in it. When I got word that the Fine Arts Program was providing a bus to take students right to the Whitney, along with the opportunity to hear one of the curators, Anthony Elms, speak about the exhibition, with time built in to visit more galleries or do your own thing before coming back to campus, I immediately said that I would go. The trip was a great opportunity, but it was nothing out of the ordinary for Fine Arts to offer to students. The Fine Arts Program is constantly hosting speakers that range from working artists, like the Alfredo Jaar lecture this semester, to gallery owners or museum curators, sometimes hosting in collaboration with the ICA or the School of Design, and often providing access for undergraduate students to events hosted by those places as well.

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The Biennial was quite an experience, with an almost overwhelming amount of work packed into five floors, and the opportunity to hear Anthony Elms speak about curating the exhibition. Elms is an associate curator at the ICA and one of three curators who worked on this year’s biennial. Students and faculty had the chance to hear him describe what it was like picking out which artists to show, and the obstacles that arose in fitting all of the work into the space. He spoke about the application process for becoming a curator and how instead of proposing specific artists and themes, his proposal was a list of questions he was asking about contemporary art. He explained how he wanted his floor to slow things down and pay attention to detail, to be cohesive but also touch on multiple themes.

After the talk from Anthony Elms, everyone had the option to go gallery hopping throughout the city with Photography Professor Brent Wahl or spend their time on their own. The opportunity to gallery hop with Professor Wahl meant seeing many of the galleries in the Chelsea area. Between the biennial, hearing Anthony Elms speak, and the galleries visits with Professor Wahl, it was a great trip and a privilege for the students.

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Edited by Naomi Shavin.

Top banner: Terry Adkins, Aviarium, 2014. Steel, brass, aluminum, and silver, dimensions variable.