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Biennial Echos Politicized Art World

Donald Paneth Apr 30

Powerful works of opposition to the Bush administration and to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are displayed in the 2006 Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

At the very entrance to the museum may be seen the Peace Tower of expressionistic images and words by Mark di Suvero and Rirkrit Travanija. It is a recreation of the Tower first exhibit in Los Angles in 1966. One of its numerous panels connects the past and present in a single amalgam, ‘VIETIRAQNAM.’

The shattered walls of a building destroyed by artillery fire or air bombardment are shown in an installation by Urs Fischer.

A Richard Serra work with the legend ‘STOP BUSH’ recalls the photograph of a cloaked, hooded prisoner of war, arms outstretched, fingers wired for electrocution, in Abu Ghraib.

Videos such as Dance of Death, Falluja, and Empire and Oil by Deep Dish TV are screened against a background of elements from Picasso’s “Guernica” and newspaper stock market tables.
I find it hard to reconcile myself to what a pity all of this is. In fact, I can’t.