Younger Than Jesus, The New Museum’s “Generational” opens this evening.

The approach here is an interesting one, coming as it does on the heels of an art market that appeared to fetishize youth. But the curators of the new triennial, Laura Hoptman, Mas Gioni, and Lauren Cornell, assure us that what the show is meant to offer is a “snapshot” of a specific generation that for some time now has simply existed either as a catchphrase (“Millenials,” “Generation Y”) or as a demographic group for marketers. For Gioni, Younger Than Jesus is an attempt to show this generation of artists as “producers,” ones for which, as Hoptman noted, the curators have created “no ‘ism,” which is to say no conceptual corral that might makes sense of what it is that this generation of artists is up to. (That seems like a good idea, except when you remember that the very notion of a “generation” is itself a conceptual problem, though the curators and others unpack the idea in one of the shows two accompanying catalogs; more on the second one in a moment). Hoptman demurred that they (the curators, the Museum) would “leave the assessments to the sociologists, to the marketers, and to the future,” which is a nice way of confirming that they (the curators, the Museum) believe the show (and this generation) is worthy of assessments to begin with…

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