020609: New Museum: Younger Than Jesus

New Museum: Younger Than Jesus The new ideology of salvation “Younger Than Jesus” is the remarkably bizarre title of the new Triennial of young art at the New Museum in New York. The title was sharply criticized: why does the salvation myth have to serve for a “Best Of show”. One could have at least made use of van Gogh to advertise the motto “young and effective”. But this Triennial is obviously not interested in discussions on identity politics or visual presentations of globalisation in art. Instead, the exhibit presents itself as a research project focussed on artists born around the year 1980. Museum director Lisa Phillips and the curators substantiate this with surveys on the so-called Millennials, Generation Y, and Generation Me; and they underline their choice with unsophisticated and trivial statements such as: nobody has achieved more by the age of 33 than Jesus. An international network of over 150 curators and informants were involved in the preparations. More than 50 artists from China, Algeria, Germany, India, Romania, Turkey, and Venezuela present their works. Among them Tris Vonna-Michel, who lives and works in London and Berlin, and whose walk-in installation attracted attention at the last Biennial in Berlin, Ahmet Ögut, with his clever-ironic interventions on traffic and speed, as well as Jeffrey Inaba, Ugo Rondinone, Keren Cytter, Cory Arcangel, Anna Molska or the Romanian Ciprian Muresan. Behind all of this is the attempt of a thematic categorisation. For example with the title: “IMAGINING THE FUTURE: Possible worlds and fantasies of identity”. Typical for this is the retro-futuristic video by Ryan Trecartin (born 1981), reminding of low-technology computer games as well as YouTube aesthetics and Flickr. Other chapters are called: “THE ROMANCE OF OBSOLESCENCE: The artist as archaeologist” or “REWRITING THE PAST: What do we remember? How do we forget?” Great effort was made to convey contemporary art to a broad audience with this clever and diverse exhibition– this actually being the principal duty of Biennials and Triennials. But it is remarkable how the activation of the myth of being “young” combined with “successful” correlates with the ideological attempts to reconstruct the USA as the superpower of goodness. It is the New Museum’s historic mission to concentrate on presenting young artists. This was already one of the founding motives of the museum initiated by the Whitney-dissident Marcia Tucker in 1977. In the future, the Whitney Biennial, which concentrates on US art, will continue to be challenged. By Roland Schöny New Museum NY 10002 New York, 235 Bowery, until 05.07.09 www.newmuseum.org

New Museum
NY 10002 New York, 235 Bowery
Tel: ++1-212.219.1222
Öffnungszeiten: Mi 12-18, Do, Fr 12-22, Sa, So 12-18 h

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