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Beautiful Losers

Contemporary Art, Skateboarding, and Street Culture

March 12 through May 30, 2004

Beautiful Losers

In the 1990s, a loose-knit group of American artists, many just out of their teens, began creating art that reflected their lifestyles. Influenced by popular underground youth subcultures of the day--skateboarding, graffiti, street fashion and independent music--they began to make work in a variety of media that over time has come to define a unique aesthetic. The unifying traits among these artists are a studied vocabulary of pop culture iconography, a sense of the absurd, and a strong D.I.Y. (Do It Yourself) ethic. From early on, almost all were working in styles that were contrary to academic trends. Because of this, it was necessary to develop alternative avenues of communication and distribution for their work. Networks of art galleries, publications, and clothing and record labels dedicated to this art came into being and over the years have developed a solid following. Mainstream art establishments have now begun to embrace this new work, but its influence is most keenly felt in the worlds of fashion, music, literature, film and, due to the popularity of skateboarding, athletics.

Beautiful Losers recognizes a vital and independent creative spirit. It is the first museum survey to spotlight this network of artists who began by launching a simultaneous celebration and critique of contemporary art and popular culture from outside institutional walls.

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