Inside the 2024 Whitney Biennial

Apr 16, 2024

This dynamic three-part course gives participants an in-depth view of works in the 2024 edition of the Whitney Biennial, interpreting them in the context of our social, political, and cultural landscape. The sessions explore themes in the exhibition, from the fluidity of form, perception, and experience to historical and current land stewardship to concepts of selfhood. Each week offers a different lens through which to consider specific artworks and artists featured in the Biennial, considering them within current conversations in the art world and the history of American art. 

Session 1 


A palimpsest—traditionally referring to a manuscript or document that has been written on, scraped off, and reused—extends to artworks with layers of information built up over time in this session. Investigating works in the Biennial that act as repositories of diverse historical records, reflecting the ever-evolving sociopolitical and cultural conditions of contemporary globalized America. We explore how artists employ layering as a device to encapsulate both historical and personal transformations, ranging from Mavis Pusey’s portrayals of 1970s urban landscapes to Maja Ruznic’s paintings incorporating ghostly figures from Socialist Realism and Slavic folk imagery to Clarissa Tossin’s 3D prints of pre-Columbian Maya artifacts examining the connective tissue between history and place. This session is led by Patryk Tomaszewski, Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow.