Louder

Curated by Kathryn Hixson and Tony Tasset

Artists: Nayland Blake, Robert Blanchon, Larry Clark, Jason Fox, Gregory Greene, George Horner, Mitchell Kane, lk Joong Kang, Mike Kelley, Karen Kilimnik, Cary Liebowitz, Ken Lum, Matthew Owens, Raymond Pettibon, Richard Prince, Pruitt & Early, Zizi Raymond, Jim Shaw, Andy Soma, Lily van der Stokker, Joan Wallace, Susan Wexler, Robert Windrum, and Kevin Wolff

The work of the twenty-four artists in Louder, a group exhibit curated by Chicago critic Kathryn Hixson and artist and UIC professor Tony Tasset, deals with the adolescent experiences of coming of age and self-definition. As a seeming reaction to various trends within the art world, and in the societal and economic context of the United States in the early 1990s, a number of artists have produced work that draws from the peculiarly awkward stage impending adulthood: adolescence. The work relies on representations or references to the body as the site of evolving sexual and societal definition—not presenting a “responsible” or “politically correct” whole adult self, but rather an adolescent one that refuses to be repressed. The work revolves around the projected image of the self as opposed to a behavioral or aesthetic authority, and sometimes aggressively assaults institutional legitimating structures. As these artists assert newly formed self-definitions, they refuse to suppress the rebellious exuberance felt in the gap between naïveté and responsibility. Much of this art references the cult of the body combined with the cult of the gang, as well as the cult of pop music, with all of its associative bonding. The work is not a critique (per se) of the existing political and art situation, but is simply a usurping of power, a violent bash when the parents are out of town, complete with booze, girls, boys, and loud music. It is aggressively nostalgic, explicating a wish for a renewable youthfulness, not for its rosy-cheeked innocence but for its harsh demanding immediacy—the thrill of that great fall from grace, the intoxicating turbulence of puberty.