Last night’s opening of Through Future Eyes: The Endurance of Humanity at YBCA was kicked off with a bang by a performance from the Loco Bloco drummers who, in vibrant yellow jerseys, pounded their way through the reception area. That was followed by a modern dance piece inspired by the ‘exercise art’ of Michael Namkung, an artist featured in the show, and executed by performing arts students from the Young Artists at Work program (YAAW).
The show, which was also curated by YAAW participants (see my interview with them here), features art in the theme of endurance, and while it may have been organized by teenagers, the eleven artists featured are not exactly high school students. One of the most impressive aspects of the show is the depth and quality of art these young women managed to procure, and with the exception of Shepard Fairey, who is embroiled in a legal battle against the AP over his iconic Obama poster, and Diego Rivera, who is deceased, all of the artists were present at the opening, and were introduced to the crowd during a lively toast.
The young curators were responsible for the show from top to bottom, even building a to-scale model of the space in order to decide how best to hang the art. Their hard work has paid off. At the top of the stairs, visitors are greeted by the work of artist Jennifer Campbell, who uses her body to explore the limits of physical endurance. A video shows the artist punching a camera lens, the strangeness of which is amplified when you realize she is doing this not with her hands, but with her feet.
As you wind your way through the rooms the eclectic tastes of the curators is evident, with mediums ranging from traditional paintings and woodcut prints to floor mounted videos, ceilings covered in charcoal, and an installation piece by local artist Caleb Duarte created especially for the show.
In a back room, a group of YAAW students silkscreen t-shirts with their rendition of Atlas holding the world on his shoulders. Only in their version the body of the Greek god charged with keeping the earth in the sky is not muscular and massive, but slight and youthful. You get the impression it might be okay to let these kids hold things up for a little while.