Feb 15: The Ungovernables

New Museum curator Eungie Joo shares stand outs from the museum’s upcoming Triennial.


Only artists younger than Jesus were in the running when the New Museum launched New York’s first international roundup of emerging talent in 2009. But for its second Triennial, “The Ungovernables,” opening February 15, curator Eungie Joo eased up on the age requirements (under 40 will do) but ramped up its global focus, selecting 34 artists and collectives from more than 20 countries. “Ungovernable” is a term she appropriated from South Africa’s apartheid struggles, which along with genocidal conflicts, the rise of fundamentalism, and economic crises were just some of the conditions faced by this generation of artists in their twenties and thirties. Says Joo, “I hope the title suggests both anarchic and organized resistance, a powerful imagination and dark humor.”

Here, a few of the rising stars she discovered across the global landscape.

Amalia Pica: Included in the group exhibition last year at the Venice Biennale, the Argentinean-born, London-based Pica, 33, uses materials such as megaphones, signal flags, and antennae for conceptual installations that speak to how we exchange information. Pica’s installation “Eavesdropping” is a lyrical smattering of drinking glasses stuck directly to the wall that playfully raises issues of privacy and communication.

Danh Vo: A refugee from Vietnam who grew up in Copenhagen and now lives in Berlin, Vo will exhibit some 35 large-scale bronze fragments from his ongoing project to recast the entire Statue of Liberty to scale, part of his “We the People” shown last year in Kassel, Germany. Scattering the parts on the ground like archaeological relics, Vo, 36, is interested in the abstract weight and volume of the elements that may not be immediately recognizable as this iconic figure of freedom.

Public Movement: Led by Dana Yahalomi, this group from Tel Aviv stages political actions in public spaces around the globe. As part of the 2011 Performa, Public Movement asked New Yorkers to move to one side of a black ribbon or the other to demonstrate their positions on hot-button topics such as building versus banning mosques. For “The Ungovernables,” the group will hold biweekly salons in and outside the museum as well as create a new performance piece in April.

Wu Tsang: The Los Angeles-based Tsang, 29, co-founder of Imprenta Art Law Project, which serves the transgender community, plans to unveil his film “Full Body Quotation,” a sampling of clips from the history of transgender cinema and his own performed interpretive remixing of them.

Minam Apang: Mumbai resident Apan, 31, makes fantastical large-scale drawings that reimagine creation stories passed down orally from the nomadic tribes once populating her birthplace in northeast India. “He Wore Them Like Talismans All Over His Body,” looks like a bat from a distance, but is actually teeming with creatures—whales, ghosts, serpents, demonic and cartoonish faces—that pay homage to traditional Asian ink forms and Japanese anime.

The Propeller Group (Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Matthew Lucero, Phunam Thuc Ha): For their five-channel video installation, the Vietnam-based film producers hired a company in Saigon to give communism a branding overhaul. “TVC Communism” features advertising professionals brainstorming about how to make communism more palatable to the public and raises questions about how communism and capitalism were branded in the first place.

Jonathas de Andrade: Exhibiting frequently in his native Brazil, including the 2010 Sao Paulo Bienial, Andrade, 29, will have his U.S. debut here. Included is “4000 Shots” for which Andrade snapped 4000 single frames of random men on the streets of Buenos Aires and then ran them together in a hauntingly beautiful, grainy black-and-white film that speaks to the history of the disappeared in Argentina during the military dictatorship.

Image: courtesy of New Museum