“We the Millennials” - Art in Transition

Joanne Artman Gallery
Mar 2, 2018 12:12AM

This time last year we wrote about art as a reflection to socio-political topics, a “black mirror” if you will of the current climate. In times of uncertainty, contemporary art and the major themes presented can act as an important measuring tool of the national mood and public consciousness of overarching belief systems, as well as cause an international, and national impact.

Dmitri Vrubel, My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Kiss, Graffiti on Berlin Wall, 1990. (Image courtesy of WikiCommons)

In this vein, a twinfold conversation seems to have been presented in the media around the “selfie” generation, the avocado toast generation that can’t afford to buy a home. Frivolous to the extreme without any willingness to be real adults, they stay in their parents basements well past the acceptable norm into their late twenties and thirties. Yet they are the demographic that is soon to be the largest voting bloc in America - progressive, liberal to a larger degree, and here to stay. They are bringing the topic of the NRA and gun control to the forefront of public dialogue, they are the ones the media has labeled under a colloquial term as the  “millennials”. Having lived through the Great Recession as newly minted college graduates, grappled with the duality of staggering student debt and a barely sufficient entry level salary, having participated in one of the most progressive offices under the first African American president, witnessed the tripling of public mass shootings since 2011, older and wiser millennials have come to the point where they are active participants with the power and mindset to effect change.

Pablo Picasso,Guernica,Oil on Canvas, 1937. (Image courtesy of WikiCommons)

As one of the most diverse generational cohorts in history, millennials (not to be confused with the younger and more libertarian iGen) have taken an almost undivided stance on inequality and climate change while also exhibiting a widespread spiritual crisis of meaning. Political art has historically been an important outlet in times of national crisis. Vrubel’s Berlin wall graffiti of Brezhev and Honecker in a fraternal embrace from a photo taken in 1979, titled My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Kiss, bookmarks the fall of the Berlin wall, while Picasso’s Guernica is one of the best recognized anti-war paintings in history, a powerful and moving work created in response to the bombing of Guernica. As the United States undergoes the throes of transition (of voting power, of mindset), we too are seeing a surge in political art as the stage is laid bare for artists to capture our national zeitgeist, fostering dialogue.

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Joanne Artman Gallery