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Presumed Innocence was an incredibly inspiring book that i found in the library, written in conjunction with the traveling exhibition, Presumed Innocence, organized by guest curator, Jean Crutchfield, the catalog presents the works of 23 artists who demonstrate how childhood has been transformed by mass media, biotechnology and cybernetics. Presumed Innocence reinforces the fact that childhood is a dynamic and open-ended concept. The art contained in it represents a number of different even contradictory attitudes that provide a wide spectrum of societal roles that children are either expected to assume or defiantly act out. It does not attempt to settle disagreement; instead, its choice of art intends to be a forum for analyzing it. Throughout history the antithesis of childhood innocence have been sophistication, decadence, and evil. However, in the late twentieth century new attitudes toward youth have developed that collapse these former polarities. The 23 artists here undermine the presumption of naivete and demonstrate how childhood has been transformed by mass media, biotechnology, and cybernetics. Many works of art included here counter, through deliberate inversion, Disneyesque and edenic views of youth, while others conflate images of children and adults into visual cyborgs.

© Serena Rhiannon Graham, all rights reserved