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New Museum Presents Works by Fifty International Artists for First Edition of "The Generational"
AIDS-3D, OMG Obelisk, 2007. MDF, electroluminescent wire, steel, hot glue, acrylic paint and fire
NEW YORK, NY.- The New Museum presents works by fifty artists from twenty-five countries who are taking part in the first edition of “The Generational,” the institution’s new signature triennial exhibition. The only exhibition of its kind in the United States, “The Generational: Younger Than Jesus” offers a rich, intricate, multidisciplinary exploration of the work being produced by a new generation of artists born after 1976. Known to demographers, marketers, sociologists, and pundits variously as the Millennials, Generation Y, iGeneration, and Generation Me, this age group has yet to be described in any way beyond their habits of consumption. “Younger Than Jesus” begins to examine the visual culture this generation has created to date.

Inspired by the fact that some of the most influential and enduring gestures in art and history have been made by young people in the early stages of their lives, “Younger Than Jesus” fills the entire New Museum’s building on the Bowery with approximately 145 works by artists all of whom are under the age of thirty-three years old.

Hailing from countries including Algeria, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Lebanon, Poland, Turkey, and Venezuela, many are showing in a museum for the first time. The exhibition spans mediums and encompass painting, drawing, photography, film, animation, performance, installation, dance, Internet-based works, and video games. “The Generational: Younger than Jesus” will be on view through June 14, 2009.

Consistent with the New Museum’s thirty-year mission to present new art and new ideas, “The Generational: Younger Than Jesus” is the first major international museum exhibition devoted exclusively to the generation born around 1980, tapping into the different perspectives, shared preoccupations, and experiences of a constituency that is shaping the contemporary art discourse and prescribing the future of global culture. In the United States, this demographic group is the largest generation to emerge since the Baby Boomers, while in India half the population is less than twenty-five years old; the sheer size of this generation ensures its worldwide influence. By bringing together a wide variety of artists and contextualizing their different approaches, “Younger Than Jesus” captures the signals of an imminent change, identify stylistic trends that are emerging among a diverse group of creators, and provide the general public with a first in-depth look at how the next generation conceives of our world. Revealing new languages and attitudes, the exhibition comprises a portrait of the agents of change at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

The exhibition is organized by Lauren Cornell, Director of Rhizome and New Museum Adjunct Curator; Massimiliano Gioni, Director of Special Exhibitions; and Laura Hoptman, Kraus Family Senior Curator.

“The New Museum has always been a platform for the new,” comments Lisa Phillips, Toby Devan Lewis Director. “We have given important early exposure to artists at the beginning of their careers, from Keith Haring to Adrian Piper, and Ana Mendieta to Jeff Koons—artists who subsequently changed the course of art. ‘Younger Than Jesus’ continues the New Museum’s tradition and mission of showing the art of tomorrow today.”

“The artists in ‘Younger Than Jesus’ reflect a preoccupation with our future, but also with history and tradition: Rather than foreswearing their parents, they seem interested in imagining new communities and alternative families,” says Massimiliano Gioni. “Their tactics range from role-playing to recycling, from identity tourism to technological archeology, from an hysterical form of realism to an intimate, micro-emotional art.”

According to Lauren Cornell, “The exhibition presents glimpses of a generation that is incredibly diverse, with artists moving seamlessly across mediums. Instead of radically breaking from the past, these artists draw from a myriad of influences across historical movements and geographies to highlight the intergenerational dynamics that drive contemporary art.”

“During World War II, both Pablo Picasso and Giorgio Morandi were painting still lifes,” explains Laura Hoptman. “Two artists, belonging to the same generation, were imagining two absolutely different realities emerging from a chaos that encompassed the entire world. We hope that ‘Younger Than Jesus’ will offer a look at our world as reflected through the work of many artists belonging to the same time and yet representing entirely different perspectives on its problems and its beauties.”

Informants Worldwide
Artists were selected for “Younger Than Jesus” through an open curatorial model that is participatory, and inspired by the networking proclivities of the generation represented in the show. Initial research for the exhibition was conducted through an international network of correspondents and an information-sharing group of more than 150 curators, writers, teachers, artists, critics, and bloggers worldwide, who were asked to recommend artists for the exhibition. This methodology was intended to expand the curatorial process and challenge the traditional “single-source” method of creating an exhibition. Through this process, more than 500 artists were recommended and researched.





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