Last night, Jenn and I went over to Hollywood and checked out the Rookie + The Arduous install, “Strange Magic”. I missed the opening party last Saturday, but I had seen pictures, and knew we needed to scoot our butts over there!
Even though Jenn and I are of adult age, we revisit our teenage years on the regular, trying to iron out our pasts in order to reshape our futures. So much of what I was interested in then has carried through and led me to the life I’m living now (re: feminism, zines, St. Courtney, and building my own little safe space).
The show was extensive and clever. Loads of mini shrines and relics that most teen girls would be familiar with and recognize. There were solid themes throughout the whole show, and I was impressed with how honest it was, and not a glossed over version of what the teen girl experience is like. Considering teenage dynamos Petra Collins and Tavi Gevenson curated it, it’s not a huge surprise. They’re both young and still up in their own teen dreams, not remembering the highs as super high.
Yes, that is a fully formed treehouse, complete with viewer graffiti. Meaning, you can add your own. Mine read, “My Heart is broken. But my soul is not.”
I’ll stop talking in circles– there are so many things to explore and love in this show. The curators asked teen girls to submit their own keepsakes to the installation, so you’ll see the true artifacts. Some of it will be eerily familiar (Jenn said she had stacks of Sweet Valley High books in her room too! I’m guessing she was an Elizabeth on the outside, even though now she’s a solid Jessica) and some of it might feel distant and strange (I know there’s really rad ladies out there who never had the chance to pick up a zine).
Did I mention the other attendees? I was so happy to see an a-typical art crowd– there wasn’t a lot of black clothing there. The place had loads of teen girls wearing flower crowns, homemade clothing, and glitter makeup milling about, taking it all in. They were flipping through zines and talking about music. 15-year-old me almost cried. I had felt so lonely during that period of my life.
If you are in Los Angeles, I am sending out a message to you–GO. NOW. It’s already Thursday, and the show ends Saturday. Take your daughter or your best friend or your niece or your neighbor. I would consider this install a must-see. I’m crossing my fingers that it gets sent all over the country!
“Strange Magic” is at Space 15 Twenty, 1520 Cahuenga Blvd. Los Angeles. Their wrap party is school dance themed, on Saturday evening.