Thursday, April 9, 2009


New York has been a bit temperamental lately. We have bounced between my winter coats and tank tops about four times since springtime supposedly hit. In fact, we saw a few snowflakes dripping down onto Prince Street yesterday and my entire office groaned in unison. It's not summer yet, I guess. But this past Sunday was lovely.

Sunday found me in Long Island City, a destination I only dare to hit in good weather. Queens is a bit gloomy of a borough as is, and cold, rainy weather only dampens its persona. So the first sunny Sunday without any other obligations brought me to one of my favorite galleries in the whole entire world... PS1.

PS1 is MoMa's weirder, hipper, younger brother. The one who wears skinny jeans, reads Murakami, listens to vinyl, dons neon green sunglasses and totally pulls it off. The art is nothing if not weird, and the mood oddly electric. It's a bizarre place to show art, an old public school, but it obviously works. I still like Dia:Beacon better, in terms of transformed art spaces, but PS1 holds its own in a city where shock value is getting harder and harder to nail.

The art ranges from new kids like Yael Bartana (the swimming pool guy), Leonardo Erlich, and Lutz Bacher-- to the old masters (I say that with irony) William Kentridge, Cecily Brown, Sol LeWitt, Turrell, Weiner, etc.

The pieces in the stairwells are my favorite (I like that they are tucked away in hidden corners, drawn/painted/pasted on the original plaster)... the Kentridge above is one of the first pieces I fell in love with via slide from the great John Saurer, and Cecily Brown, below, is one of the first shows that stopped me in my tracks in Chelsea. I sadly, sadly, sadly missed her stairwell piece this time, but saw her name and an arrow pointing down as the super efficient security guards kicked me out at 6 on the dot. Next time we'll have a moment, Cecily, next time.

The work at PS1 all exists in installation form. Even the paintings and photographs serve to 'work the crowd' in terms of experience within the art. Each room is specifically installed to serve as an experience. 90% of the work makes us uncomfortable either in explicit material or in mounting insecurities from 'not getting it.'

I get extremely frustrated in galleries when I either a) don't know the artist or b) don't understand the work. I can usually pull some sort of point of reference, most often from something I learned in Janson's or Gardner's. But PS1 pulls the cloth from under me, which I like and which I oddly crave. I don't get it most of the time. For example, I found myself sitting on the floor in a dark, red room with headphones on listening to screaming violins and watching a silent film of a Louis XVI era damsel running down stairs and chasing fountains. What the hell?!

PS1 is like the school for alternative learning. For the kids who need a little extra attention due not to behavior, but to brilliant minds too bright for the normal schools to tame. It's weird, it's challenging, and it's fun. Especially during the trippy summer Warm Up parties. That's where you'll find me mid-summer--somewhere between intense thought and careless laughter. Right where I prefer to be.

1 comment:

David Henly said...

ok, you're taking me here on my next visit to the Large Apple. dude