YOUNG ADULT (OR, A DARING, URGENT, MALFUNCTIONING AGE): Group Exhibition Curated By Ben Crothers. Featuring artists Ian Charlesworth, Daniel Clowes, Brian Finke, Charles Forsman, Gilbert Hernandez, Dave Kiersh, Tao Lin, Michael Lucid, Mardou, Rebecca McIlwaine, Alasdair McLellan, Ryan Moffett, Erin Patrice O’Brien, Francis Pienaar, Noah Van Sciver, Charlie White
YOUNG ADULT (or, a daring, urgent, malfunctioning age) exposes and investigates youth culture gone wrong. Fun, boredom, alcohol, sex, parties, drugs, gangs, violence and death collide in a selection of video, photography, comic books and literature which straddles both sides of the Atlantic, exploring young adulthood in the UK and the United States, from Belfast and Manchester to New York and North Carolina.
Focusing on work made about teenagers and twenty-somethings, YOUNG ADULT depicts those who seek solace in places where they perhaps should not, taking extreme measures to postpone adulthood and the difficulties which await them. Referred to as Millennials, Generation Y, “boomerang kids”, and the “Peter Pan generation”, their youth no longer presents hope and promise for the future, but rather crippling uncertainty. Numbing themselves to a reality for which they were never prepared (despite, or indeed because of, their comfortable upbringings and college educations), rites of passage are rejected with potentially devastating consequences as today’s young adults hurtle towards adulthood.
Whether presenting fact or fiction, the artists and writers featured within the exhibition all recognise the complex problems facing young adults in contemporary society. The traditional process of growing up seems to have gone off course as contemporary youths face issues and challenges that did not exist, or were unacknowledged, in previous generations. Young people are going back to school for lack of better options, travelling the world, avoiding commitments, competing for unpaid internships, and remain unattached to romantic partners or permanent homes – in other words, forestalling the beginning of what many would consider "adult life”.
In YOUNG ADULT there are Frat boys under the influence of drugs and alcohol, teenage vandals, and internet-addicted, jobless graduates suffering from ennui, yet to find their place in the world, passively drifting through life or desperately seeking some form of respite, whether it is healthy or ultimately all the more damaging