So the list of 108 artists who will be included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial is out, and unless I pass my time in stunning ignorance I don't see a single Seattle artist on it. By this I mean an artist living and working in Seattle; the sharp-eyed Eric Fredericksen (formerly of this here column and this here newspaper) noticed somewhere that Los Angeles artist Sam Durant was born in Seattle, and I myself have talked to Cameron Martin about why he left Seattle for New York (his work is shown locally by Howard House--there's a small victory). And then there's Wynne Greenwood, otherwise known as Tracy + the Plastics, late of Olympia but more recently of Brooklyn, one of at least a few performance artists on the list who cross over quite neatly into the music world (or began there), so that the 2004 Biennial, like SAM's Baja to Vancouver, will probably include a lot of music-related work. Well, it's nice that the curators have finally caught on.

I do know that the Whitney's associate curator Debra Singer came out here a few months ago and did studio visits with what I keep hearing is "about 30 artists" (probably the same "about 30 artists" considered for B2V). But aside from my own personal annoyance, it's a good list, with a lot of artists who are hardly new to the game (Yayoi Kusama is in her 70s; David Hockney is in his 60s; a lot of the younger artists have already had significant solo shows), which might well prevent the sort of novelty worship you sometimes find at these sorts of shows. Hell, it might even be pretty good.


On Another List

Pick up a copy of the brand-new Best Food Writing 2003 for an essay by Min Liao, former food writer for this very paper. Her essay, about her unrequited crush on the phenomenal, tiny restaurant Salumi ran in The Stranger a year ago. As it turns out, the restaurant loved Min right back; when we ate there together a few months before she left, little plates of this and that (braised short ribs, beef cheeks, different kinds of sausages) kept appearing at our table. And now you have a chance to reread the essay that contains what may be the best sentence she ever wrote: "Very little is more satisfying than walking up to a counter and saying, Yeah, I'll take the 'Hot Meat Plate,' thanks. "


And on Yet Another List

In an October 26 New York Times Magazine article, novelist and critic Dale Peck, who seems to hate most contemporary writing, named three contemporary writers that he likes, and one of them is Seattle's own Rebecca Brown. This is something. It is really something considering the list of writers he doesn't like includes Faulkner, Nabokov, DeLillo, and (most famously) Rick Moody, whom he eviscerated rather personally in the New Republic a few years ago. Congratulations, R. B., and keep up the damn good work.