Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mean streets on display at BAM

By Elizabeth Dana

For those whose school bus was the subway, and sprinklers were fire hydrants, the Brooklyn Academy of Music has a photo exhibit is for you.

BAM’s latest exhibition, “Younger Than I’ll Be,” pulls from photographs and movie stills that evoke the feelings of growing up in the city in the 1980s and early ’90s.

“Being young here was a singular experience — riding the subways, walking everywhere, phone booths, beepers, sitting on stoops, the feeling that you owned everything,” said curator Skye Parrot. “Part of that was just the joy and omnipotence of adolescence.”

To achieve this, the Fort Greene-based artist has looked to pieces like Nan Goldin’s provocative “Heart Shaped Bruise,” Robert Longo’s images of hip dancers in “Men in the Cities” — like grayscale iPod ads, minus the iPod — and stills from Larry Clark’s 1995 film “Kids,” a horrific look at children growing up too fast.

“They all encompass the feeling of being young in the city as it was before the big boom,” said Parrot. “Back when it could still feel dangerous.”

That must be the youth talking.

“Younger Than I’ll Be” opens at BAM [30 Lafayette Ave. between Ashland Place and St. Felix Street, (718) 636-4100] on April 7, with a reception at 6 pm, and runs till May 23. For info, visit

Photo by Virginia Rolston Parrott


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