Although this painting is a group portrait (riffing on Rembrandt’s painting Syndics of the Draper’s Guild), it tells the story of the Millennial generation today in America. The title is borrowed from David Bowie’s 1972 glam rock anthem about disaffected youth and the apocalypse. Bowie stated that “the news” was that there was only five years until the end of the world.
Although it is a sunny summer day outside, the disaffected youth inside looked despondent. They’ve been reading the New Yorker and looking at the news on their iPhones. Wolfgang states “With the unrelenting exposure to news headlines, social media, and the increasing societal pressures to ‘achieve’ what their parents did, amidst a completely different economy and culture, paralyzing anxiety and fear of the unknown future have taken root in their young minds.”