Battle of the New Bowery

06/18/2009 12:44 PM |

577d/1245271726-joshsmith.jpgArt galleries (known to many as “first-wave gentrifiers”) are taking over The Bowery, and at this very moment two of the biggest newcomers to the gritty old area are locked in a heated debate over, of all things, the virtues of youth and maturity.

At the New Museum, triennial super-show The Generational: Younger Than Jesus (which The L‘s Paddy Johnson liked just fine, for the most part) is giddily devoted to brash youthful energy. All the artists included were born since 1976, making them younger than 33, hence the exhibition title. Uneven and over-full though it may be, The Generational gives some of the hottest young gallery stars (Josh Smith, whose painted panels appear at right) room to breath and meet new viewers.

Just across The Bowery, BLT Gallery recently opened an octogenarian response entitled Wiser Than God, which features only work by artists born in or before 1926. Not all the pieces included are recent (some date back to the 70s and 80s), but the artists in the show form an impressive group, including: Hyman Bloom, Louise Bourgeois, Jonas Mekas, Dorothea Tanning and Carlo Nangeroni. Rather than pick sides, next time you’re down on The Bowery try something old and something new, I bet you’ll find something you like in each.

Younger Than Jesus continues through July 5, Wiser Than God stays up until July 31.