The Ungovernables, a Sprawling Exploration of Issues Facing an Emerging Generation

NEW YORK—Glass tumblers project from the wall. Large sheets of wavy copper are strewn on one side of a gallery. In another, you can watch footage of an artist who “worked” at an accounting firm for a month doing nothing but sitting and thinking and capturing the farce on film.

The New Museum‘s sprawling Triennial showcases the work of 34 artists and collaborators in their 20s and 30s who came of age in the post-independence and post-revolutionary era and hail from around the world (only two were born in the United States and a handful live and work in the U.S.).

Titled “The Ungovernables,” the show’s name is intended to transform the negative connotation of unruly masses into a positive reference to emerging creatives whose unconstrained, innovative, and sometimes curious, work grapples with and is inspired by the issues, opportunities and challenges facing the generation.

“The Ungovernables” is on view at the New Museum from Feb. 15 to April 22, 2012.

All photos by Arts Observer

Above, In foreground, “WE THE PEOPLE,” 2011 (pounded copper) by Danh Võ, who was born in Vietnam and lives and works in Berlin. The work is a full-scale reproduction of the exterior skin of the Statue of Liberty, which the artist learned is only as thick as two pennies, presented in an incomplete disassembled state meant to relieve Lady Liberty of her symbolic burden; In background, “A person loved me,” 2012 (clay, wood, metal, cement, Styrofoam, burlap, sand and paint) by Adrian Villar Rojas of Rosario, Argentina. Top of page, “Remembering the Future of a Hole as a Verb 2,” 2012 (chalk and paint) by Kemang Wa Lehulere of Johannesburg. The lengthy mural examines the complexities of post-Apartheid South Africa.

“Eavesdropping (Version #2 Large),” 2011 (found drinking glasses, glue) by Amalia Pica.

“PrayWay,” 2012 (silk and wool carpet, MDF, steel and neon) by Slavs and Tartars, a Eurasian collective founded in 2006. The museum invites visitors to recline and converse on the installation described as part oversized prayer book stand, part riverbed seating common in tea salons. In background, oil works canvas by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

From left, “An Authority,” and “A Mind for Magic,” (both oil on canvas, 2011) by Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, who lives and works in London.

“The Post into the Future Infinitely,” 2012 (wood table, hanging mechanisms, acrylic on wood, postcards, found text and found images) by Dave McKenzie, who was born in Kingston Jamaica and lives and works in New York. The works explores how people influence and are affected by the worlds they inhabit.

Detail of “Remembering the Future of a Hole as a Verb 2,” 2012.

“From waiting blue to lingering yellow (or vice versa),” 2010- (watercolor, India ink, pen, pencil, acrylic and tape on beige and colored transparent paper) by Mounira Al Solh. The artist’s alter ego, Bassam Ramwali works in a juice shop and creates the paintings during idle moments—waiting for customers, a tardy friend or slow Internet.

Post Your Thoughts