AO On Site – New York: New Museum Triennial Exhibition ‘The Ungovernables’ through April 22, 2012

March 6th, 2012

Adrian Villar Rojas, A Person Loved Me (2012)

The New Museum debuts its second Triennial exhibition ‘The Ungovernables,’ a show dedicated to representing international artists, many of which are under 40 and have never been represented in the United States before. There are over 50 participants in the exhibition including 34 individual artists, multiple-artist groups, and a few temporary collectives. The exhibition begins in the back of the lobby, the rest distributed between four full floors, a stairwell, and the basement. Nearly every type of artistic media is represented, from sculpture, to painting, to video, to installations. The range of styles and philosophies is vast as well, including figuration, abstraction, and conceptual art.

Curator Eungie Joo with ‘The Ungovernables’ artists

Danh Vo, WE THE PEOPLE (2011)

A more structurally and materially driven piece, WE THE PEOPLE by artist Dan Võ, consists of large pounded copper sheets, curved and bent in different ways, and strewn around the front of the fourth floor. Julia Dault’s Plexiglas sculptures have a similar structural and minimalist feel to them. They mimic pieces of shiny paper bent and folded on top of each other; both structures, although sturdily built, have a fragile appearance.

Julia Dault, Untitled 19 (3:00 pm – 8:30 pm, February 4, 2012) (2012)

Julia Dault, Untitled 20 (1:00 pm – 5:30 pm, February 5, 2012) (2012)

Abigail DeVille, Dark Day (2012)

Artist Abigail DeVille uses found materials, such as empty liquor bottles, paint, and torn pieces of furniture to create her Dark Day room in the stairwell between the third and fourth floors of the museum. The room looks like a college dorm room after a rowdy celebration or a damaged hotel room that the Sex Pistols once partied in.

Wu Tsang, The Shape of a Right Statement, (2008)

Amalia Pica, Venn Diagrams (under the spotlight) (2011)

Installation view of 3rd floor

Installation view of 3rd floor

Lee Kit, Scratching the table surface and something more (2012)

Pratchaya Phinthong, What I learned I no longer know; the little I still know, I guessed (2009)

Amalia Pica, Eavesdropping (Version # 2, large) (2011)

Installation view of 4th floor

Jonathas de Andrade, Ressaca Tropical [Tropical Hangover] (2009)

Jonathas de Andrade, Ressaca Tropical [Tropical Hangover] (2009)

Jonathas de Andrade, detail of Ressaca Tropical [Tropical Hangover] (2009)

The New Museum was started in 1977 as a venue for contemporary and cutting-edge artwork. In 2009, the title of the first Triennial was “Younger Than Jesus,” playing on the fact that everybody in the show was under 33. This year’s title “The Ungovernables” is reflective of, not only the youthfulness of the artists, but of their strong personalities as well, suggesting a certain wildness and youthful energy. Curator of the show Eungie Joo spent two years recruiting artists from around the world for the show, and she currently serves as the Keith Haring Director and Curator of Education and Public Programs for the museum.

—R. Willis

Related Links:

Exhibition Site [New Museum]
The Lovable ‘Ungovernables’ [New York Times]
Local Talent Leads Downtown Triennial [Wall Street Journal]
Alex Katz and Kara Walker Joined the “Ungovernable” Artists at Their Raucous New Museum Opening [Art Info]