Saturday, April 11, 2009

Enter Sandman: Sleeping it off at the New Museum

"Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day." ~Friedrich Nietzsche.

In honor of Easter, let's talk about Jesus. The New Museum in New York recently opened a show entitled “The Generational: Younger Than Jesus” which features the work of artists under 33, the age at which a one Mr. Jesus H. Christ died for our sins roughly 2000 years ago, tomorrow. I have yet to see the the show, but at first glance, this sounds like an interesting idea. A little reading however, has turned my interest into bemusement as one of the show's centerpieces (discussed and pictured in the New York Times) is artist Chu Yun's "This is Lacy," 2006, an installation of a woman sleeping. Yes, that's it. A couple cute girls under 40 take turns hitting the Ambien and sleeping in the gallery.

This is exactly the kind of work that makes me feel conflicted. It's flashy and startling. Big important curators love it becuase it questions what the space of museum itself is really about and speaks to ideas about voyeurism. But at the same time is just a couple girls napping. It's an easy idea that makes most people feel stupid and resentful (our tax dollars at work, folks). It distances people from art, and frankly, I'm not really sure it speaks to our generation of young artists, who in my experience, seem to be more conservative and concious of "the masses" than their predecessors.

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