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The Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, is forever an exercise in the impossible but potentially exhilarating task of defining the contemporary art landscape (at times, it can feel more like an attendance-driven packaging of it). Catalogs for the biennial can be similarly misleading: compiled months before the actual exhibition or final checklist, they must necessarily offer overgeneralized and easily digestible entries on each artist's "issues." This year's catalog follows its predecessors' format but reflects the 2008 exhibition's refreshingly uncluttered, art-centered aesthetic while providing useful frameworks for the chosen 81 artists and collectives. In separate essays, Whitney associate curator Momin discusses the unresolved temporality of today's art; writer Rebecca Solnit argues that "the small is the politics of our time"; and Whitney assistant curator Huldisch addresses the "anti-spectacle" nature of contemporary art, even its failure-what, citing Samuel Beckett, she sees as a deliberate "lessness." Reading through this informative and thoughtful catalog and having possibly attended the accompanying exhibition, we realize these descriptions are not, in 2008, a bad thing at all. Recommended for art history collections.