Whitney Biennial 2017

Puppies Puppies Is Selling $5 Lady Liberty Crowns at the Whitney Museum Gift Shop

Puppies Puppies, Liberté (Liberty), 2017.MATTHEW CARASELLA

Puppies Puppies, Liberté (Liberty), 2017.


At this year’s Whitney Biennial, between a disturbing Jordan Wolfson virtual-reality work, two flashy Jon Kessler sculptures, and a smelly Pope.L installation involving rotting baloney, it’s easy to miss Puppies Puppies’s contributions.

In the main galleries are the artist’s “Triggers” sculptures, for which Puppies has displayed just the shooting mechanism of a gun, with every other piece removed. They’re poetic works about gun violence, and that can be sort of jarring, given that Puppies’ work usually lends itself to outright weirdness. But, in true Puppies Puppies form, around the museum lie surprises of other kinds.

On the eighth floor is a performance by Puppies called Liberté (Liberty). It’s fairly straightforward: a performer, forced to endure unusually cold March temperatures, dons a green gown and crown, and stands like the Statue of Liberty on a terrace. Call it freedom in the form of a durational performance. Then, downstairs in the museum gift shop, Puppies selected foam crowns of the variety worn by tourists making their way to Liberty Island to sell among the books and tchotchkes, each available for just $5. They’re displayed on a spinner, which, a label tells us, was hand-picked by Puppies for the occasion.

Should that not sate your appetite for Puppies’s weirdness, don’t miss a billboard outside: an oversize image of Sauron’s dragon-like eye, from the Lord of the Rings movies. It’s called Untitled (Sauron), 2017, and it stares you down as you enter and exit the museum.

© 2019 ARTnews Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. ARTnews® is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.