February 26, 2010

The Biennial vs. The Brucennial

The Whitney Biennial (photo above) opens to the public today uptown. Meanwhile, tucked in amongst the 10K handbags and designer snowboots, something called the Brucennial is opening in Soho.  

Filling the walls of a bi-level space, the show (pictured below) is a hodgepodge of new work and old, including paintings by superstars like Julian Schnabel and David Salle.  As stated coyly in their press release, the show "brings together 420 artists from 911 countries working in 666 discrete disciplines to reclaim education as part of an artist's ongoing practice." This is the third Brucennial, put together by the Bruce High Quality Art Foundation, a loose collective of five artists.  The big difference from the Whitney is that Bruce is run by artists and for artists.  There is no selection committee.  

The TIMES review of this year's Whitney Biennial is favorable, commending the museum for halving the number of artists included to a spare 55 and putting on a cleaner show.  The Brucennial aims to be the opposite.  And unlike the Whitney, it is free.