For her 101st birthday, Muriel Mandell visited the Whitney Museum of American Art to catch the Whitney Biennial before it closes September 5th. “The Whitney Biennial,” we read, “is the longest-running survey of American art, and has been a hallmark of the Museum since 1932” — 11 years after my mother was born.
“Ishkode” by Rebecca Belmore. A religious looking figure (actually a sleeping bag cast in clay) standing amid thousands of empty bullet casings. “Untitled (Snag)” by Cy Gavin. “Mundus: A Novel” by N. H. Pritchard known primarily as a concrete poet “who arranged words spatially across the page.” Muriel, an author of more than a dozen books, most recently “A Donkey Reads,” an adaptation of a Turkish folk tale, was taken by Pritchard’s novel, and stood there reading the pages on the wall. Pritchard hung out with painters at the Cedar Tavern in Greenwich Village, the neighborhood where my mother has lived most of her life.
Long Low Line (Fordland) by Danielle Dean, which initially looks like an oil painting on canvas, but turns out to be an 18-minute animation traveling through a series of fantastic landscapes. We stood there for quite a while, although not all 18 minutes.
“Mountain Walk” by Leidy Churchman. Untitled by Richard Lemon. “Project Row Houses: If Artists Are Creative Why Can’t They Create Solutions” by Rick Lowe.
We took a break from the Biennial, and went up to the seventh floor, selections from the Whitney collection from 1900 to 1965. Muriel — who continues to write and teach (computers, to other senior citizens) and serve on the Children’s Book Committee; and take courses (this semester: Spanish and Trends in Art) — was especially drawn to The White Calico Flower by Georgia O’Keeffe, who lived to 98.