The 2017 Whitney Biennial Is a Moving, Forward-Looking Tour de Force—a Triumph

Installation view of work by Raúl de Nieves, in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. MAXIMILÍANO DURÓN/ARTNEWS

Installation view of work by Raúl de Nieves, in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. MAXIMILÍANO DURÓN/ARTNEWS And we’re back. After a three-year hiatus intended to allow Whitney Museum curators to break in their palatial new home in the Meatpacking District, the Whitney Biennial has returned in very fine form, with an intensely satisfying display of 63 artists and collectives across two full floors and a few other spaces. The mood is, by turns, anxious and dark, even sinister, but also, at times, expectant, guardedly hopeful. Everyone is on edge. The show presents a nation, and the sensibilities of its artists, in a period of transition, with violence cresting, identities in flux, and some brave souls hatching plans. A sea change is coming, though it is unclear if its effect will be disastrous, momentous, or something more complicated. Call it the biennial on the brink. Thrillingly, this is a forward-looking affair—and [...]