Tuesday, March 21, 2000

Art Nouveau and New Art Forms

Classically American, the Whitney Museum launched its 70th biennial exhibition on Tuesday, March 21, to a sumptuous crowd of artists from all mediums. There were many firsts with this exhibit -- outside experts from around the country were allowed to participate as curators. It was the largest exhibition to date, as well as the most international one to date (21 artists from around the world) and the first time Internet art was included.

Some of those Internet artists who were honored to be a party of this exhibit were Mark America http://www.grammatron.com, Ben Benjamin http://www.superbad.com, Ken Goldberg http://ouija.berkeley.edu and RTMark http://www.rtmark.com. At the super-artful club The Slipper Room, Mark Tribe of Rhizome threw a party so that the Whitneys and the Net-ies could meet and sip special Rhizome cocktails.

Just as I arrived I met Jim Higdon (artist) and Judd Morrissey (writer) of Providence. Brad Paley (Digital Image Design) and I headed in to be welcomed by Mark Tribe. As we waited for our special cocktails, the pulsing theme song from "Run, Lola, Run" played to the mellow-techno-delight of the guests. Squeezing through the tight group, I met up with John Neilson, who's in technical developments with News Digital. John was chatting with -- and introduced me to -- Jennifer and Kevin McCoy, artists who will be participating in an art-technology symposium and exhibit on Friday and Saturday (www. Swissinstitute.net). Marisa Bowe eased her way over to chat, and Rufus Griscom, in a characteristically loud, printed leisure shirt, came over to say Hello before he settled into conversations with some other friends. Tiffany Schlain came by in her tradmarked 21st-Century Princess Leia look and a fabulous strappy gown. She was there with her husband, Ken Goldberg, one of the artists in the Biennial. Ken was equally fabulously attired in a colorful, silk, ruffled color -- "plummage" as we called it. Another strikingly-attired gentleman was John Simon, who is married to Elizabeth M.G. Simon, and who was one of my first friends at Skidmore during undergrad! Just before a final sip of the cocktail and my exit, Brad introduced me to Melissa Dallal, senior editor at ID Magazine and Dave Ling, who is working on several projects.

The late-night crowd was getting cozy in the outrageous pink and retro cabaret lounge. There was much to talk about, especially on such an historic night!

(The exhibition runs in its entirety through June 4, 2000.)