Breaking the Mold of Ageism in the Art World: Chicago Art Magazine Begins the “40 Over 40” Series

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Chicago Art Magazine will release a series of eight articles, featuring forty artists born before February, 1971.

The series seeks to challenge the New Museum’s acclaimed “Younger Than Jesus” exhibit, which only allowed artists under the age of 33.

Chicago Art Magazine this month sets out to prove that new, fresh, innovative, creative art exists in all stages of life.

“It seems that more and more the term ‘emerging artist’ is defined by DOB,” says Kathryn Born, publisher of the popular Chicago online magazine who’s introduction to the series “Breakout Artists Over 40” (http://chicagoartmagazine.com/?p=13377) stated, “The art world is obsessed with youth; in fact, many artists over forty can’t even enter juried art exhibits under the category ‘emerging artist.’”

The series seeks to challenge the New Museum’s acclaimed “Younger Than Jesus” exhibit, which only allowed artists under the age of 33. Born, who turns forty herself this month, started thinking about the irony of her own situation. “When I was in my early twenties, I felt immense pressure to ‘make it’ before turning 30, and now, as a publisher, I see the absurdity of it. Some of the strongest, most valuable art made in Chicago is being created by artists who have been out of art school for over a decade.”

The magazine sent out a call for nominations and drew from an internal pool of artists selected by the editors. “I think we hit a nerve. The response was phenomenal,” says Born. The series now contains over eight articles that celebrate over 40 artists born before February, 1971. These articles will be published several times a week between February 11 and February 28, 2011.

“It’s always important to keep an eye out for new talent, but it’s equally important not to dismiss artists who have hit their strides and created large bodies of quality work.” Born continues, “’Breakout’ is a type of art-making that pushes boundaries, and somewhere along the way, it became associated with the state of an artist’s biological age. This was particularly damaging to women artists with children.”

As Chicago Art Magazine celebrate artists - from a street artist known to be over sixty, to artists who run their own spaces, to performance and installation artists - the audience will see the quality of the work and the radical thought that has evolved over time and created daring work for decades.

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Teresa Brennan
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