Boston Critic Pans Biennial

If the Whitney Biennial really is, as critic and 2009 Pulitzer finalist Sebastian Smee put it, "a major, temperature-taking survey of what's going on in contemporary art" then contemporary art is in a lot of trouble. Smee called the exhibition a "debacle," adding "not only is it incoherent, it is overburdened with art about art, sloppy gestures of pseudo-revolt, dreary and repetitive video art and arcane conceptualism." He says the exhibition has a few bright spots, including works by George Condo, Maureen Gallace, and R.H. Quaytman, but these are not merely overshadowed by all the dreck in the biennial, but also by the concurrent show, "Collecting Biennials" that was mounted by the same pair of curators. The latter contains works by heavyweights such as Edward Hopper, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Diebenkorn, Mark Rothko, Philip Guston, Barnett Newman, and Cy Twombly.