Redbuds, Yellowwoods, and a Weeping Persimmon: Asad Raza Brings a Forest to the Whitney Biennial

Asad Raza, Root sequence, Mother Tongue, 2017. MAXIMILÍANO DURÓN/ARTNEWS

Asad Raza, Root sequence. Mother tongue, 2017. This past weekend, in advance of the first official previews before a public opening on Friday, I took an elevator to the sixth floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art to lay eyes on the first Whitney Biennial to take over the institution’s new downtown home. It was quiet. Biennial co-curator Christopher Lew was talking with a few critics who got early access, and Jordan Wolfson was walking his dog, Midnight, beside the grid of virtual-reality rigs that will allow people to experience Real Violence (2017), a punishing exploration of lifelike destruction . After the carnage was a calming plot of trees, in the form of a new installation by Asad Raza that takes over a window-lined gallery at the end of the floor. Titled Root sequence. Mother tongue (2017), the work is a mini forest of arboreal plantings in soil-filled [...]