Thank heaven for little girls like Britney and Christina, who have done so much to promote kid power (or, more specifically, a fascination with underage fillies). For balance, we have "Juvenilia: Checking Out Youth and Art," a multimedia group of four shows at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, which attempts to address what the curators see as one-dimensional and inaccurate representations of youngsters by the media and the entertainment powers that be.
"Juvenilia" boldly goes where most grown-ups don't dare to go -- that is, directly into the minds of the darling teeny-boppers themselves. On view are drawings, sculptures, and photographs by a diverse group of adult artists such as Laylah Ali, Tracey Moffatt, Bruce Conner, and Alexis Rockman. Each is represented by works completed before they hit the ripe old age of 18 and by artwork created within the past four years. The idea is to use the old and new pieces to observe the development and maturation of each artist. In response to the question adolescents are most often asked ("What do you want to do when you grow up?") the Center's own student group, Young Artists at Work, in collaboration with the art team Grennan and Sperandio, created Nearly There, a whimsical, comic book--style digital animation piece. Author and illustrator J. Otto Seibold's technically sophisticated and vibrantly playful display highlights his impressive noncommercial work, including collages, photographs, and even custom-made wallpaper. It's easy to see why his acclaimed children's books, among them Olive, the Other Reindeer and The Pig in the Spigot, have garnered a cult following amongst whippersnappers and old-timers alike.
In conjunction with the Center-wide festival, "Teensploitation!," an over-the-top film series, explores on-screen adolescent angst, and runs for the rest of this month and December. Relive those happy teen years with B-movie relics such as Roller Boogie, featuring juvenile scream queen Linda Blair, and Bad Ronald, a bizarre made-for-TV flick about an overprotective mother who hides her psychopathic teen son after he murders a girl who makes fun of him. Fortunately, the series includes no mentions of either Britney or Christina.