9artists

“There was a sense toward the end of that period, which many people associate with the aftermath of the 1993 Whitney Biennial, that people got tired of the subject position battles. There was a backlash … as artists, critics, and institutions grew weary of defending their privilege and more or less decided that the whole identity politics thing was over.

Attendant with that has been a simplification of the art of the time, as if somehow it was lacking in formal or material complexity, and was merely artists stating self-essentializing positions as a way to make space for marginalized positions within an art world that had hitherto excluded them. And yet, of course, much of the art of that era continues to inform and enrich the present. While I am not suggesting that the artists in this exhibition represent Identity Politics 2.0 (as if identity politics ever ended, for that matter; it is everywhere, all the time, de facto, and we are all participants), they do represent artists who are unafraid to engage the world in broad and ambitious ways, and who deploy their identity, or at least a conscious acknowledgment of its existence, within the work. What feels different to me is that they all reconsider notions of loyalty to a group away from identification based on class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality and toward some less codified organization of alliances.”

-Bartholomew Ryan, extract from the conclusion of 9 Artists catalogue essay.

Join 9 Artists curator Bartholomew Ryan in the galleries tonight at 5 pm for a conversation about the exhibition, which closes Sunday.