at John Connelly Presents
New York
December 4, 2002 -- February 15, 2003

Chelsea newcomer John Connelly Presents took a risk on "Teenage Rebel (The Bedroom Show)," handing its space not only to a huge group of unproven young artists but also to a curator, K48 zine editor Scott Hug, who vowed to live, work, sleep and play video games in th e gallery for the duration of his exhibition. It’s a scenario straight out of a John Hughes movie -- adults leave the kids in charge for a weekend, mayhem ensues -- but remarkably enough, "Teenage Rebel (The Bedroom Show)" managed to behave itself, even remembering to make its bed every morning.

At over 70 artists, the show packed a great deal of stuff into the small space, emphasizing the works’ casual energy. For this particular group of professional teenager-impersonators (Hug, like many of the artists, is already more than a decade beyond his teen years), the strategy worked magnificently. Rarely does an exhibition’s installation so perfectly match its central conceit. And even more rarely does an exhibition gathe r so many artists who not only produce work suited to its theme but who appear to be personally stuck on it like a collective monomania.

Once the visual noise in the gallery subsided, chaos gave way to a few high notes (fine works by Rachel Howe, Tracy Nakayama, PFFR and Lucien Samaha) as well as several shared preoccupations, including sex, skateboards, celebrity worship and 80’s popular culture. The easy complaint was that the exhibition’s hipness hid a lack of overall depth, but gallery-goers in search of Bigger Themes were directed a few blocks north, where they could watch Marina Abramovic fasting for twelve days. Sans Atari.

by Craig Garrett

[originally publilshed in Flash Art no. 29 (March/April 2003)]

copyright 2003

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