A Touch of France in the 2014 Whitney Biennial

February 18, 2014 | By French Culture

The 2014 Whitney Biennial, opening on March 7, will bring over 100 artists and organizations together in its attempt to present an image of current art in the United States. One of the most influential surveys of contemporary art, the Biennial is ostensibly restricted to American work, but increasingly has broadened that definition to include both American expats and artists from around the world who live and work in the United States. Two of the artists in this year's exhibition, Michel Auder and Diego Leclery, hail from France.

Known primarily as a video artist, Auder's work often takes the form of biography and travelogue, and includes portraits of fellow artists like Hannah Wilke, Larry Rivers, Alice Neel and Annie Sprinkle. One of the first artists to use video in the late 1960s, Auder's videos drew from his friend Andy Warhol's Screen Tests, and were central in establishing video as a medium uniquely capable of diaristic, biographical forms.

Also interested in biography, primarily autobiography, Leclery's recent work is centered on his own performances. Often comic and even, potentially embarrassing, Leclery's works highlight the idiosyncrasies of his own life and psychology. For a 2013 exhibition at Kirk's Apartment in Chicago, Leclery drew on his close relationship with his mother, making, for example, a tribute to her "visual sensitivity" by recreating her worst visual phobias.

A few organizations and publications are also in the upcoming Biennial, including Semiotext(e), a publisher that has been instrumental in the introduction of French theory and philosophy in the United States. Founded in New York in 1978 by the philosopher Sylvère Lotringer, Semiotext(e) was one of the first to publish English translations of works by authors like Gilles Deleuze, Jean Baudrillard, Michel Foucault and Guy Debord, more recently they have published works by the collectives The Invisible Committee and Tiqqun.

The 2014 Whitney Biennial runs from March 7 to May 25. For more information visit the Whitney site here

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