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For 2021 Edition of Its Closely Watched Biennial, Whitney Museum Goes with Two Recent Hires

Adrienne Edwards and David Breslin.

COURTESY THE WHITNEY MUSEUM

Just weeks after the most recent edition of the Whitney Biennial officially closed, plans for the 2021 iteration of the closely watched show have been foretold, at least a bit, with the naming of two in-house curators to helm it: David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards.

Breslin joined the Whitney in 2016 as the museum’s curator and director of the collection after work at the Menil Drawing Institute, a recently minted addition to the storied Menil Collection museum in Houston, whose founding program he helped organize. He also oversaw work on the catalogue raisonné of drawings by Jasper Johns, an artist set for a Whitney retrospective next fall. His credits at the museum so far include “Where We Are: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1900–1960,” “An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017,” “Spilling Over: Painting Color in the 1960s, “The Whitney’s Collection: Selections from 1900 to 1965,” and, with co-curator David Kiehl, the gut-punch retrospective “David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake at Night.”

Edwards joined in 2018 as a curator with a focus on performance after stints at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and Performa, the biennial for performance art of various kinds in New York. The Whitney’s current exhibition related to cross-disciplinary collaborative work by the jazz musician Jason Moran originated during her time at the Walker, and other offerings of hers at the museum have included a series of performances based on text Wu Tsang, boychild, and Fred Moten as well as a commission for composer Henry Threadgill to accompany David Hammons’s in-progress public sculpture Day’s End.

Those who want to catch at least some of the much-debated 2019 biennial are in luck: part of the show remains on view at the Whitney through October 27.

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