Biennial Bumper Crop.

                                        Robert Lobe. Moon Is Out (Williamsburg), 2009.

Biennials, triennials, annuals, and other large group shows like to tout themselves as paradigm-shifting, culture-producing productions which gauge the current climate of a particular slice of the art world.  Whether these ambitious visions are ultimately achieved is often a topic of heated debate  once these shows go up, with criticism directed at shortsighted curatorial decisions, gratuitous institutional interests, and lopsided artist lists that overlook underserved communities.  This year there are a clutch of exceptional shows that appear to be living up to their curatorial ambitions.   The common denominator among these shows is that each opts for an approach that enables themes and any theoretical backdrop to emerge from the exhibitions themselves rather than imposing a set framework from the outset, with the result that the shows end up doing what they purport to do: tracing current artistic trends and gauging contemporary ideas.  Look for my interviews with the curators each day this week…. Read more here.