the 2017 whitney biennial is taking place from now through june 11, surveying american art across painting, installation, activism and video-game design. one of the most widely-celebrated commissions is an 18-panel, stained-glass-like mural by artist raúl de nieves that takes over the museum’s windowed façade. six floor-to-ceiling windows are covered in vivid motifs made from paper, wood, glue, tape, beads, and acetate sheets, forming a backdrop to the artist’s elaborately beaded sculpture series. 

 

art21 — a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting audiences to the artistic process — has taken a behind-the-scenes look at raúl de nieves working on the installation. as part of the ‘new york close up’ digital series, the exclusive film explores the artist’s creative process and recounts the personal experiences reflected in his work.

art-21raul-de-nieves-whitney-biennial-stained-glass-installation-designboom-02
the film explores the artist’s creative process and recounts his personal experiences

 

 

the art21 film reflects on de nieves’ personal background — unexpectedly moving from mexico to the united states at the age of nine — and how his own history has helped shaped his work today. ‘growing up in mexico was really magical because I got to see a lot of forms of celebration,’ describes the artist. ‘I got to experience death as a really young child. that’s what my work is about: it’s like seeing the facets of happiness and sadness all in one place.’

art-21raul-de-nieves-whitney-biennial-stained-glass-installation-designboom-02
art21 takes a behind-the-scenes look at raúl de nieves working on the installation

 

 

de nieves’ also talks viewers through his commission for the 2017 whitney biennial, speaking about his experimentation with stained glass, and its combination with some of his existing figurative sculptures for the exhibition. the artist also goes on to explain the project’s influences, describing how the installation acts as a form of remembrance to his father’s early death. ‘creating this narrative, with all these figures and symbols—just taking what I’ve learned from experiences and being able to put it in one image — is really important for me right now.’ 

art-21raul-de-nieves-whitney-biennial-stained-glass-installation-designboom-02
the installation has been commissioned for the 2017 whitney biennial 

 

 

in december, art21 shared an exclusive film of korean creative do ho suh’s latest work, documenting the artist as he engages in a full-scale colored-pencil-on-paper rubbing of his former new york city home. see the video on designboom here

art-21raul-de-nieves-whitney-biennial-stained-glass-installation-designboom-02
six floor-to-ceiling windows are covered in vivid motifs

art-21raul-de-nieves-whitney-biennial-stained-glass-installation-designboom-02
the installation forms a backdrop to the artist’s elaborately beaded sculpture series

art-21raul-de-nieves-whitney-biennial-stained-glass-installation-designboom-02
the ‘stained glass’ is made from paper, wood, glue, tape, beads, and acetate sheets

art-21raul-de-nieves-whitney-biennial-stained-glass-installation-designboom-02
the artist reflects on how his personal history has helped shaped his work today

art-21raul-de-nieves-whitney-biennial-stained-glass-installation-designboom-02
de nieves’ walks viewers through his commission for the 2017 whitney biennial

art-21raul-de-nieves-whitney-biennial-stained-glass-installation-designboom-02
the artist describes how the installation acts as a form of remembrance to his father’s early death

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    art news