Univeristy of Washington Press, 1998 | First edition
Softcover, 80 pages, 228 x 192 mm
Condition: Very Good
Published in 1998 on the occasion of the exhibition of the same name, Presumed Innocence presents works of 23 contemporary artists – Larry Clark, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Sally Mann and Todd Haynes to name a few – that examine childhood and its transformation in recent years.
Throughout history the antitheses of childhood innocence have been sophistication, decadence and evil. However, in the late twentieth century new constellations of attitudes towards youth have collapsed these former polarities. The ideas in Presumed Innocence undermine a supposition of naïveté and demonstrate how childhood has been transformed by mass media and technology. From the child's point of view, what is mostly shown on television is the plain fact that the adult world is filled with ineptitude, strife and worry. Television opens to view the backstage of adult life accelerating children's learning and developing what may be called adult postures – from cynicism to indifference – toward violence and politics. Reinforcing the fact that childhood is a dynamic and open-ended concept, these works represent a number of different and even contradictory attitudes that provide a wide spectrum of societal roles that kids are either expected to assume or defiantly act out.