A Chair Died at the Whitney Biennial 2012

02.28.12 Marina Galperina

It was good chair, a wooden chair, a chair standing proudly in Wu Tsang’s installation Green Room at the Whitney Biennial 2012 Press Preview. And then, it wasn’t. In Memoriam…

Unaware of Occupy-esque Whitney pranking earlier that morning, the first wave of press settled inside a recreation of a dressing room of the Los Angeles Latino/LGBT bar the Silver Platter, complete with linoleum floors, bulbs of neon, mirrors and… yes, chairs. We watched the Tsang’s Wilderness, a tender, glamorous, devastating two-channel video piece of atmospheric shots and transvestites’ soliloques. And then the enchantment broke. A shaky lady scrambled around room with her cane, searching for her lost bag, raising worried ruckus, aggressively fondling furniture, as Jerry Saltz heroically sprinted off his vinyl seat to her rescue.

Now, I’m not sure exactly when the chair’s fourth leg disappeared into thin air or how it happened, but suddenly, it wouldn’t stand on its own. It was gone. Despite the hubbub, Saltz dutifully transported it to different corner of the room. Scampering about the lost bag continued. Caught in a out-flowing river of critics, I swallowed my tongue passing the Whitney guard, deep down into my gut where it stayed the rest of the day, nudging me guiltily, torturously flapping. Until, you know, internet. What do you do, you who function fine in the real world? Hmm?

(Photos: Marina Galperina/ANIMAL New York)