The Whitney Biennial showcases a robust cross-section of contemporary art, including painting, sculpture, photography, installation, film and video, performance, Internet art and works that fit into no definable category. By adopting a loose definition of American artists,
which means artists whom live and work in the territory, the biennial has an international profile though it is a national survey show of the country.
The idea of annual and biennial survey exhibitions has its roots in the Whitney Studio Club, the Museum’s antecedent, founded by Gertrude Whitney in 1918, and they have been
a hallmark of the Whitney since 1932. Although the exhibitions were originally organized by medium, painting alternating with sculpture
and works on paper, since 1973 when they
began to occur every other year, the biennials have pursued a different curatorial approach
to include all media.