Daniel Joseph Martinez, Museum Tags: Second Movement (overture) or Overture con claque - Overture with Hired Audience Members 1993 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum, New York.
In a recent issue of New York Magazine, critic Jerry Saltz revisited the influential and at the time, controversial 1993 Whitney Biennial.
These artists were against not beauty but complacency; they were for pleasure through meaning, personal meaning. They saw that the stakes had risen by 1993, and they were rising to meet them the best they could. Of the show’s 82 artists, about half still have significant careers. That’s an exceptionally high percentage, especially considering how many were unfamiliar figures before then. A few 1993ers—Janine Antoni, Pepon Osorio, and Fred Wilson—are now MacArthur winners. Robert Gober, Bill Viola, and Wilson have each represented the United States in the Venice Biennale. It’s fair to call the 1993 Biennial the moment in which today’s art world was born.
Saltz’s article touches on works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Matthew Barney, Coco Fusco, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Paul McCarthy, Charles Ray, and Hanna Wilke.
The artists who emerged in the generation that began here made work that was weirder, less hangable, and derived more from idiosyncratic impulses. […]
Artists were capturing the ways that identity and the body, be they political, sexual, physical, psychological, or doomed, would become central themes of the decade. Central themes because they were necessary themes. Identity politics (or “political correctness,” if you didn’t like it) was becoming a dominant piece of the national conversation, as it still is twenty years later. The country was becoming more diverse—a place that could elect Barack Obama as its president—and some embraced that new reality in order to move forward; others reacted against it. The Biennial was on the side of the future, and still is.