And the award for the best exhibition title goes to The New Museum with their Younger than Jesus exhibition, showcasing the art of artists under 33, which happens to be the age that Jesus was when he died.
The groundbreaking exhibition showcases the work of fifty artists from 25 countries, revealing the thoughts, hopes and fears of the generation that is likely to shape the next wave of contemporary art, or to use the Museum’s phrasing, “Agents of change”.
It seems that futurism, history, voyeurism, technology, anti-technology are the themes, with a cross-disciplinary focus which is largely unseen in previous generations. Also unlike their predecessors who were notable as much for their rebellion as their art, the work seems to reflect a respect for tradition and history, yet also a constant questioning.
One such artist is Tala Madani, an Iranian-American who appropriates traditional middle eastern rituals and imagery in a crude, almost cartoonish style, with just the right amount of slapstick. Holy Light, above, depicts a group of men attending a prayer meeting that has instead turned into a golden shower. By taking the piss (literally) of men-only gatherings and rituals prevelant in her society, Madani is questioning the relevance of such archaic practices, in particular the patriarchal elements. In Nosefall, below, which depicts a group of suicide bombers with nosebleeds, dressed in pink and unwittingly placed into sexually submissive positions – a pathetic portrayal of a group usually portrayed as unquestionably and terrifyingly masculine.
Madani’s art is a fine example of the offerings of artists who are Younger than Jesus: work that is gutsy, thoughtful, humourous, and – most of all – timely.