This Week’s Triennial Is Less About Youth, More About Origins


Next week, the New Museum will unveil the second edition of its generational triennial, “The Ungovernables.” The exhibition title refers to colonial beliefs in the supposed “ungovernability” of native African peoples. The pejorative term was reclaimed by South Africans as a means of civil disobedience and self-determination. It resonates among contemporary participants in Occupy Wall Street.

Curator Eungie Joo, the New Museum’s director and curator of public programs, spent two years visiting studios around the world, and put together an exhibition with a distinctly non-Western focus. “The Ungovernables” features 34 artists and artist groups, for a total of over 50 individuals, many of whom have never exhibited in the United States. All of the participants were born between the mid-’70s and the mid-’80s, and most of them live and work internationally, although four are based in the New York area.

The New Museum held their inaugural triennial, “Younger than Jesus,” in 2009. Featuring a selection of artists age 33 or younger, the exhibition launched the careers of Keren Cytter, Brendan Fowler and Cyprien Gaillard, among others. The museum boasts that the triennial is “the only recurring international exhibition in New York City devoted to emerging artists from around the world, providing an important platform for a new generation of artists who are shaping the current discourse of contemporary art and the future of culture.” “The Ungovernables” will be on view through Apr. 22.