Meditations on Our Future: Younger Than Jesus

Meditations on Our Future: Younger Than Jesus

Younger Than Jesus is a big multimedia art show presented at New York City’s New Museum inaugural international trienniale, The Generational: Younger Than Jesus. In the final years of the last art boom, numerous artists came to the fore who made punkish black-and-white art and ad hoc arrangements of disheveled stuff, architectural fragments, and Xeroxed photos. Those artists were admired by jargon-wielding academics who could barely write readable rhetoric explaining why looking at next to nothing is good for you. Many of these artists have sold a lot of work, and most will be part of a lost generation. They thought they were playing the system, and it turned out that they were themselves being played.

The New Museum’s flawed but tantalizing new triennial, Younger Than Jesus puts that kind of art behind us and points to what might lie beyond that recycling machine. It’s a huge art exhibition, assembled by a big crowd: The New Museum asked 150 recognized artists, critics, and curators to recommend artists. They put together a list of 500 or so, and three in-house curators sifted through it to create the final building-filling show of 50 artists from 25 countries. All of the selected artists were born after 1976 and are therefore under 33, Christ’s age at his death. Most of the artists presented in the exhibition are not undiscovered. Three have been on art-magazine covers already, and many have been in museum shows and have sold work to famous collector, but few are well known in the United States. Their art work includes slacker themes, lots of blipping and bleeping and video-game references, but also a chunk of somber, enlightening meditations on our economic and environmental future.

Meditations on Our Future: Younger Than Jesus

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