Michael Wilson went to an Armory Show panel on the future of biennials:
Most promising of the seven events staged on Pier 92 (the remainder were downtown at Volta) looked to be Friday afternoon’s opener, “The World Is Not Enough: The Future of Biennials.” Moderated by art historian Katy Siegel, the panel boasted a weighty lineup featuring Prospect New Orleans curator Dan Cameron, Whitney curatorsGary Carrion-Murayari and Elisabeth Sussman, Quadrilateral Biennial curator Christiane Paul, and Singapore Biennale cocurator Trevor Smith. Taking my seat in the (regrettably unsoundproofed) “lounge,” I clocked critic Jerry Saltz (who’d announced his planned attendance on his Facebook page), 303 Gallery director Mari Spirito, and upcoming Harlem Biennale curator Muriel Quancard among the modest crowd.
Siegel kicked things off by suggesting that the generally positive reviews enjoyed by the Whitney’s “2010” might have been scored in the context of lowered expectations and wondered about the role of a diminished market in shaping the emphases and reception of biennials generally. Carrion-Murayari, responding first, dismissed reports (in the New York Times, specifically) that a lack of money had been a key factor behind the decision to include fewer artists in this year’s show, suggesting that the battered economy might rather have influenced the tenor of the work. Cameron felt Carrion-Murayami’s pain, insisting that the smaller number of participants in the forthcoming Prospect.2 was nothing to do with budgetary downsizing—but admitting that it had been a consideration in the show’s postponement to 2011 (at which a few inexpertly suppressed sniggers of schadenfreude issued from the crowd).
Variations on a Theme (Scene&Herd/Artforum)