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Eternal Youth, MCA 2017
Larry Clark, “Untitled (KIDS)”, 1995Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift from The Howard and Donna Stone Collection. Photo: Michal Raz-Russo, © MCA Chicago

Images that capture the allure of eternal youth

A new exhibition featuring Wolfgang Tillmans, Larry Clark, Francesca Woodman, Eddie Peake, and more, has opened

Despite the fact most of us would rather forget our own coming-of-age and the awkward teenage years that it is anchored to, photographers and artists have always found fascination in reminding us. Whether immortalised through Larry Clark’s harrowing cult film Kids (1995) or Wolfgang Tillmans on the pages of i-D, Spex or Interview in the 90s, we have always been drawn to a crossroads of adolescence and art.

A new exhibition, now open at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, entitled Eternal Youth is spotlighting some of the names that youth culture is synonymous with – Tillmans and Clarke included, alongside Francesca Woodman, Eddie Peake, Dawoud Bey, Mona Hatoum, and Jack Pierson, to name a few.

Split into five sections, the exhibition journeys across themes such as “Fountain of Youth”, “Desirous Youth”, “Portraits of Youth”, “Marketing Youth” and “Irreverent Youth” and throughout it tackles issues including sex and the Aids pandemic, the youthful body and its desirability (including the Instagram age) and how advertisers use youth to seduce customers.

With a particular focus on everyone’s favourite era, the 90s, curators Omar Kholeif, MCA Manilow Senior Curator, and MCA Curatorial Assistant, Grace Deveney aim to reveal “the treatment of young bodies as sexualised, radical, and medicated objects”.

Eternal Youth runs until 23 July 2017 at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago