Wednesday, July 17, 2013

EXPO 1 at PS1

By Charles Kessler

Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1, with his assistant, Margaret Knowles.
Last Thursday I got to go on a tour of PS1's contribution to the multi-venue exhibition, EXPO 1 (until September 2nd) – check here for the other venues. The tour was lead by the curator of the PS1 exhibition, the brilliant director of MoMA PS1, Klaus Biesenbach. To quote from the exhibition website, the show is "an exploration of ecological challenges in the context of the economic and sociopolitical instability of the early 21st century." Biesenbach mentioned in passing that he was concerned such a show could be embarrassing, but he felt that after hurricane Sandy it was important to do. And, as expected in a show as didactic as this, some of the work is indeed heavy-handed and triggered my "oh please" reaction.
Pawel Althamer and Pawel Buchholz, Marcin Leszczynski, Michal Mioduszewski, Slawomir Mocarski, Julia Matea Petelska, Jedrzei Rogozinski, Brodno People, 2010, mixed media and sound, 99 x 236 x 65 inches (© MOMA PS1; Photo: Matthew Septimus).
Fortunately most of the art isn't silly. There's this subtle work by Charles Ray:
Charles Ray, Hand Holding Egg, 2007, porcelain (Courtesy the artist and Matthew Marks Galler).
And this tense video of a wolf and a deer confined in the same room:
Mircea Cantor, Deeparture, 2005. 16mm film transferred to video, 2:43 minutes looped (Museum of Modern Art). 
And most of all, a powerful, breathtaking/heartbreaking monumental work by Adrián Villar Rojas (whom I wrote about before here) that PS1 commissioned to be used as a lecture room for the exhibition's EXPO school.

It's sort of like a science fiction Greek amphitheater made of clay which, as it dries, will crumble and eventually fall apart. It's already cracking.
Installation view, Adrián Villar Rojas, La Inocencia de los Animales, 2013, MoMA PS1. 
Installation view, Adrián Villar Rojas, La Inocencia de los Animales, 2013, MoMA PS1. 
There's a threatening, eerie presence about the place that's diminished when a lot of people are around, so if possible, try to view this when the amphitheater isn't being used. You can check the schedule  here.

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