The Whitney Museum of American Art announced today that the 2019 Whitney Biennial will be co-curated by Jane Panetta and Rujeko Hockley, members of the Museum’s curatorial staff. The Whitney’s signature survey of the current state of contemporary art in the U.S., the Biennial goes on view in May 2019. This will be the 79th in the Museum’s series of Annual and Biennial exhibitions, inaugurated in 1932 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney. The 2019 Whitney Biennial is presented by Tiffany & Co, lead sponsor of the Biennial through 2021.
In announcing the selection of the curators, Scott Rothkopf, the Whitney’s Deputy Director for Programs and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, said: “Jane and Ru are two of the most compelling and engaged curatorial voices of our moment, with broad and sensitive instincts for artistic and cultural relevance. They are both passionate champions of emerging artists, while their more scholarly projects have shown keen insights about making history feel alive in the present. I’m delighted to see two more Whitney curators put their mark on our signature exhibition.”
Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director, noted: “The Biennial is a tradition that goes back to the institution’s historical roots while providing us with a barometer of the new. Pushing beyond what is comfortable, presenting diverse approaches to artmaking, and understanding that art can never be severed from the world at large have become the hallmarks of the Biennial. I eagerly anticipate the show that these two talented curators will organize in response to the dramatically shifting cultural, social, and political landscape of the present.”
Hockley and Panetta commented, “We are thrilled to be collaborating on the forthcoming Biennial, particularly at such an historic juncture in our country and in our world. We are excited about the work emerging out of this complex moment and are honored to continue the Biennial’s long tradition of engaging with the most compelling artists, issues, and questions of our time.”
ABOUT THE CURATORS
Jane Panetta is an associate curator at the Whitney; she joined the Museum’s curatorial department in 2010. Most recently at the Whitney, Panetta has organized solo presentations of the work of Willa Nasatir (2017) and Njideka Akunyili Crosby (2015-16) and the group exhibition Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s (2017), in addition to co-curating Mirror Cells (2016) with Christopher Y. Lew. She is a member of the Whitney’s Emerging Artists Working Group and served on the curatorial team for America Is Hard to See (2015, led by Donna De Salvo), the Museum’s inaugural presentation in its downtown location. Panetta collaborated on Signs & Symbols (2012, curated by De Salvo), as well as contributing to Robert Irwin: Scrim Veil—Black Rectangle—Natural Light, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York  (2013, curated by De Salvo). Prior to joining the Whitney, Panetta spent several years in the Museum of Modern Art’s Painting and Sculpture Department, where she worked closely on the exhibitions James Ensor (2009, organized by Anna Swinbourne) and Richard Serra Sculpture: Forty Years (2007, organized by Kynaston McShine and Lynne Cooke). Panetta is a member of Madison Square Park’s Public Art Consortium. Her next show at the Whitney is Juan Antonio Olivares: Moléculas, opening on March 2, 2018.
Rujeko Hockley joined the Whitney’s staff as an assistant curator in March 2017. Since her arrival at the Whitney, she has co-curated Toyin Ojih Odutola: To Wander Determined with Melinda Lang (currently on view at the Museum through February 25, 2018) and An Incomplete History of Protest: Selections from the Whitney’s Collection, 1940–2017 with David Breslin and Jennie Goldstein (on view now until summer 2018). Hockley also serves as a member of the Museum’s Emerging Artist Working Group. Previously, Hockley was assistant curator of contemporary art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she co-curated Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond (2014) with Eugenie Tsai, and was closely involved in exhibitions highlighting the permanent collection as well as artists LaToya Ruby Frazier, The Bruce High Quality Foundation, Kehinde Wiley, Tom Sachs, and others. She is the co-curator of We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 (2017) with Catherine Morris, which originated at the Brooklyn Museum and will travel to three U.S. venues in 2017-18. Hockley serves on the Board of Art Matters, as well as the Advisory Board of Recess.
ABOUT THE BIENNIAL
With a long history of exhibiting the most promising and influential artists and provoking debate, the Whitney Biennial is the Museum’s signature survey of the state of contemporary art in the United States. The Biennial, an invitational show of work produced in the preceding two years, was introduced by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1932, and it is the longest continuous series of exhibitions in the country to survey recent developments in American art.
The 2019 Whitney Biennial is organized by Jane Panetta, associate curator, and Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator, Whitney Museum of American Art.
ABOUT THE WHITNEY
The Whitney Museum of American Art, founded in 1930 by the artist and philanthropist Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (1875–1942), houses the foremost collection of American art from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Mrs. Whitney, an early and ardent supporter of modern American art, nurtured groundbreaking artists at a time when audiences were still largely preoccupied with the Old Masters. From her vision arose the Whitney Museum of American Art, which has been championing the most innovative art of the United States for more than eighty years. The core of the Whitney’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and exhibit American art of our time and serve a wide variety of audiences in celebration of the complexity and diversity of art and culture in the United States. Through this mission and a steadfast commitment to artists themselves, the Whitney has long been a powerful force in support of modern and contemporary art and continues to help define what is innovative and influential in American art today.
Writing and photograph via press release provided by the Whitney Museum of American Art.