Art imitating life imitating art imitating life. It’s a dangerous spiral to go down in your mind. As the first Whitney Biennial in three years opens to the public today, Vogue announced that none other than our very own goddess-in-residence RuPaul served as the inspiration for the prestigious art event.
It’s easy to get lost in a show as varied as the Biennial and in his introductory catalogue essay (curator) Christopher Y. Lew offers an amazingly unexpected tour guide: the drag queen RuPaul. Drawing on the Transcendentalist ideas of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, Lew argues that unabashed individualism—as encouraged by a larger community, like that of Drag Race— is what this Biennial is all about. “As such,” Lew writes, “Drag Race serves as a foil for several of the ideas central to the exhibition—or, as she likes to call herself in her fabulous Renzo Piano couture, Ms. Whitney Biennale.” Tellingly, the essay is titled “All Together Now (You Better Work).” (The exhibition catalogue—designed in beautiful brevity by Tiguere, a Puerto Rican design firm that the curators met during a scouting trip to San Juan—also includes an essay by Negar Azimi on what she calls the “semiotics of hair” as a cultural metaphor, citing both the imagery of Beyoncé’s “Formation,” and Donald Trump. Not to be missed!)
Read the whole article here.
(Installation view of Raúl De Nieves, beginning & the end neither & the otherwise betwixt & between the end is the beginning & the end, 2016.)