Dan about town

Whitney Biennial freeze-out


“Jay,” a man said to his friend, standing under the Eye of Sauron in the snow, outside the Whitney on the night of the biennial’s VIP preview on 15 March. “Jay. I think we’re gonna die.” The collective Puppies Puppies had created the Lord of the Rings-style eye; temperatures in the low 20s had created the pronouncement. Nothing to be done. For most, it took ten minutes to get inside, past the glass-walled red carpet on which Zosia Mamet gave a warm interview in a ball gown. The coat check was full. A potential blizzard had merged the previous night’s cancelled opening with this one, which meant a bigger crowd inside too. Jordon Wolfson’s VR experience? Forget it, not with that wait. Samara Golden’s trompe l’oeil? Sorry, oeil, some other time. And what kind of a monster orders a martini with 20 people behind her at the bar? At least there was no wait for Paul Sevigny’s DJ set. Nearby, the show’s co-curator Christopher Y. Lew spoke of being somewhere else, the seven months of solid travel that led to the exhibit. For the most part, he and co-curator Mia Locks were on the road together. “We kept saying we shared a brain,” he said, “but only because we each lost half our mind.”