The New Museum was packed last night for the opening of the fourth Triennial, the Bowery institution’s sprawling, every-three-years gathering of young, emerging artists from around the world. The theme of this edition of the Triennial is Songs of Sabotage, and the museum-wide exhibition fills the space with paintings, videos, and sculptural pieces by some 30 artists from 19 different countries.
As you’ll see when you click through our slideshow, Songs of Sabotage is a rich and deeply rewarding show. Here are just a few highlights, out of many.
• Manuel Solano’s bold, illustrative paintings, all the more remarkable when you learn that the Mexican artist created them after an HIV-related infection rendered him completely blind.
• Daniela Ortiz’s ceramic table sculptures–they’re small, but they pack a punch–with titles such as “This land will never be fertile for having given birth to colonisers (Esta tierra jamás será fértil por haber parido colonos)”
• Wilmer Wilson’s wall of life-size printed figures, each one almost entirely buried beneath thousands of staples, with only the smallest details emerging through.
• Haroon Gunn-Salie’s “Senzinina,” a squad of squatting, headless men named after a classic South African folk song once widely used in anti-apartheid protests.
• Chemu Ng’ok’s anguished paintings of people, in pairs and in groups, desperately trying to connect.
Taken as a whole, in the words of New Museum Director Lisa Phillips, the Triennial is “a call to action in response to this politically tenuous time, defined as it is by conditions of systemic injustice, hypercapitalism, and networked mediascapes. Across mediums, these artists track political and economic networks, linked to entrenched structures of colonialism and racism that magnify inequity. Through their distinct approaches, the artists in ‘Songs for Sabotage’ offer models for dismantling and replacing the various systems of power that envelop today’s global youth.”