“An artist’s life is an unconventional life. It leads away from the example of the past.” –Agnes Martin
In a recent article for New York Magazine, Jerry Saltz pronounced the art historical paradigm we have embraced for the last 200 years to not only be suffocating itself, but already dead. Referring to it as a “Zombie Art History,” Saltz proclaims “It’s beyond time for a new generation of art historians not only to open up the system and let art be the garden that it is, home to exotic blooms of known and unknown phenomena.” How do you teach teen artists about Art History when the structures underpinning our entire understanding of Art History are crumbling? How do we talk about how gender or other politics affect the continuum of art when our most basic ideas about gender and politics are as erratic as they ever could be? I would argue that it is the fragmentation of our world that makes today’s youth so well-equipped to be the engineers of a new system of art that embraces “the garden that it is.” The young artists of KBMP already occupy a world of their own creation, where there is no “outsider art” and you don’t have to be naked to get into the Metropolitan Museum. They come to the studio from a diverse set of backgrounds, schools, communities and ways of seeing. What binds them together is a shared belief in imagination, which we work to show them is a force from within themselves. They are not doomed to perfect self-referential systems that serve only those who fit within them. They are searching for new structures, new methods of understanding the world. Our goal is to show them that their voices are powerful, and that this power rests in their own uniqueness, not in how well they fit into the structures of old. They Are the New Frontier.