This past Saturday, I headed up to Queens to check out MoMA PS1 before the party crowds converge for the kickoff for the popular Warm Up music series starting its 14th(!) season on July 2nd. There's a whole lot of video art currently on view at PS1. In the first floor galleries is Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever, the artist's first large-scale exhibition in New York. Trecartin created seven immersive environments filled with household and office furniture, gymnasium bleachers, gym equipment, airline seats, and more, to screen his series of seven films. Each darkened room features a large screen projecting his films with ample seating and puffy headsets scattered about. The films deal with tweens, identity, and "transumerism"—"consumerism driven by experience," (from the exhibit's notes). The colorful, psychedelic films were shot in Miami and cast with friends, artists, young actors, and Trecartin himself. The actors voices are altered to sound like the high-pitched, squeaks of Alvin and the Chipmunks - magnifying the young age of many of the actors and emphasizing their vacuous tween jabber. Watching Any Ever feels like a trippy, bad dream one might have after a long, hot night of consuming way too many sugary, alcoholic drinks. Learn more at ps1.org. Through September 3rd.
Up on the second floor is Laurel Nakadate's Only The Lonely, which reminded me of that girl in school who tried to be rebellious by flirting with older men and getting herself into some bad situations. Nakadate meets male strangers and asks them to take her to their home to make a video. The first of these works, Happy Birthday (2000) features three separate, ordinary, older, mostly non-creepy-looking men whom take Nakadate to their respective homes in Connecticut to have a pretend birthday celebration with her. Nakadate's only instruction to the men is to sing Happy Birthday to her as she lights up candles on a birthday cake. She then cuts into the cake and sits awkwardly with each man as they eat it. Her second video piece involving strange men she picks up is titled Oops... I Did It Again (2000). Nakadate again finds three men in Connecticut to go home with—this time to reenact the dance from the Britney Spears' video of the same name. Equipped with a Hello Kitty boombox (of course) to blast the annoying pop tune (which will be stuck in your head the rest of your time at PS1), Nakadate dances around the men in their cramped homes. Two gamely dance along with her while one stands stiffly and uncomfortably motionless. In one of her Exorcism pieces, Exorcism 3 (Dancing in the Desert for Britney) (2009), Nakadate dances suggestively in a bikini top and cut-off shorts in Salt Flats, Utah in an "attempt to exorcise Britney Spears' sadness." 365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears, is a year-long (started on January 1, 2010) photographic series in which Nakadate shoots herself in various states of undress, crying. Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind features five large-scale shots of Nakadate's panties flying out a train window taken while she traveled across the U.S. to Canada on an Amtrak train. In Good Morning, Sunshine (2009), Nakadate shoots three young women in their bedrooms as she instructs them to undress. Only The Lonely looks like the sexually-charged shenanigans of a young girl trying really hard to be provocative. It also feels like it exploits its older, male participants—the ones who may actually be lonely. Learn more here. Through August 8th.
Up on the third floor is Nancy Grossman: Heads, leather-wrapped sculptures of heads created by the artist from the 1960s - 1980s. Carved of wood and covered in scraps of leather from clothing, boxing gloves, or equestrian gear, the heads are said to be self-portraits though they do not resemble the artist. Inspired by the 60's, Grossman's heads were a response to the "violence and upheaval of the era and address the anxiety and turmoil in contemporary society." The 14 fascinating, carefully crafted pieces are very masculine and look like S&M masks. An old, unsexy visitor tried impressing his young, female companion by telling her he had a similar mask. Haha, ew... Learn more here. Through August 15th.
And out in the PS1 courtyard is the twelth annual Young Architect's Program winner, Interboro Partners of Brooklyn. For this summer's project, Interboro Partners created Holding Pattern, featuring rope and sails forming a white canopy fluttering above a collection of picnic tables, chaise lounges, ping pong tables, a foosball table, a sandbox, wading pools, a lifeguard chair, chess tables, trees, and more. While these items will undoubtedly get much use over the summer months, they will all be recycled after the Warm Up series wraps up. The objects will be donated to the community to various local businesses and organizations including a taxi cab company, elder and day care centers, high schools, a ballet school, a library, a greenmarket, and the local YMCA. Learn more here. Through September 26th.