Vincent Gallo Was a No-Show at Whitney Biennial

Vincent Gallo (Courtesy

Director Vincent Gallo’s contribution to the Whitney Biennial had been anticipated ever since the list of participating artists, which included his name, was first leaked in December 2011. But as the Biennial, which opened on March 1, came to a close officially on May 27—with a few galleries remaining open until last Sunday, Mr. Gallo has remained elusive, even to the curators.

The New York Times reports on the mysterious no-show, noting that Mr. Gallo was in talks with the curators, Jay Sanders and Elisabeth Sussman, to present his third and latest feature film, Promises Written in Water, which hasn’t been screened publicly since it was first shown at the Toronto and Venice film festivals in 2010.

From the article:

Is the Whitney no-show a ploy or a tantrum? An act of self-sabotage or a principled stand against establishment culture?

[Jay] Sanders said that when he and his co-curator, Elisabeth Sussman, began discussions with Mr. Gallo more than a year ago, Mr. Gallo had already decided not to have the film distributed. “There’s a way in which suppressing it from the public is fundamentally part of the point,” Mr. Sanders said. There was talk of showing it only once or off site, he added, perhaps by invitation. Mr. Gallo declined to be pinned down, the curator said, and his wait-and-see approach seemed to fit the exploratory spirit of this Biennial.

Vincent Gallo Was a No-Show at Whitney Biennial