Growing Sideways: Performing Childhood

Growing Sideways: Performing Childhood explores how artists have turned to and repurposed aspects of childhood to counter inherited belief systems, identities, and cultural memories in the public sphere.

Vulnerable and dependent, children invoke connection, empathy, and compassion–they also stumble, baffle, and charm. As unruly and lively figures, children can frustrate order. Many of the exhibiting artists access this vital and mischievous force to raise crucial questions about the social values inculcated through the accessories of childhood such as dolls, fables, and lullabies. Others turn to the child to generate novel understandings of the self and to prompt questions about what is perceived, even at a young age.

Through scale-shifting installations, intermedia performances, and collaborative photographic works, Growing Sideways invites audiences to encounter and feel how artists playfully yet critically defamiliarize disciplinary material, from the inversion of a hand game posed by Lorna Simpson to the invention of a novel superhero captured by Aura Rosenberg, from the installation of miniature toy appliances by Ghislaine Leung to the soaring kites of Joan Jonas. Growing Sideways showcases artists who, through and with the child, unsettle convention and present alternate modes of connection and growth.