Though Forrest Bess died in 1977, he is represented in the 2012 Whitney Biennial by an entire gallery dedicated to his paintings, along with photographs and other documentation of his work and life. So why is Besse, dead 35 years, given prominent representation in an exhibition that aims to survey art produced in the past two years?
In my experience of the Biennial from afar, Bess's inclusion is one of my favorite facets. He is not officially included in the show. Rather, the artist Robert Gober was invited to participate in the Biennial, and his response was, rather than show his own work, to curate an exhibition of Forrest Bess. So it's an exhibition within an exhibition--a kind of Trojan horse maneuver by Gober. Gober's curatorial act is his art.
Why do you think Gober wanted to showcase Bess? Listen to his account.
Update: you might enjoy this clip from Antiques Roadshow featuring Forrest Bess!