Tag Archives: P.S. 1

This Just In . . .

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. . . from the custodial staff at MOMA/P.S.1

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Art Amnesty
October 26, 2014–March 8, 2015
Courtyard and 2nd Floor Main Galleries

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY, September 12, 2014—MoMA PS1 presents Bob and Roberta Smith’s Art Amnesty from October 26, 2014, to March 8, 2015.

Bob and Roberta Smith are issuing a call to Artists. Pack it in. Bob and Roberta Smith are delighted to offer an Amnesty for your Bad Art. Turn in your brushes and video cameras. Hand in your chisels and marble.

Bob and Roberta Smith are offering an opportunity for artists to dispose of their artwork at MoMA PS1, and to retire from making art. Beginning October 2, artists are invited to deposit their art in dumpsters located in the museum’s courtyard, which will be emptied as needed throughout the period of the Art Amnesty. Those who wish to exhibit their work one final time before it is destroyed may bring their art to the 2nd Floor Main Galleries, where museum staff will install it for public view. The museum will accept work under the Art Amnesty during regular hours, subject to certain restrictions that will be published at momaps1.org. The exhibition reprises and expands upon their Art Amnesty originally presented at Pierogi Gallery in 2002.

As part of the Art Amnesty, the Smiths will also make available a pledge form at the museum that can be signed by any artist or member of the public: I PROMISE NEVER TO MAKE ART AGAIN. Those who commit themselves will receive an official I AM NO LONGER AN ARTIST badge designed by Bob and Roberta Smith, and shall be invited to create one final drawing for inclusion in the Art Amnesty gallery exhibition, using materials provided onsite. Those wishing simply to discard a work will be asked to sign a pledge that reads I NEVER WANT TO SEE THIS WORK OF ART AGAIN.

While the Art Amnesty provides an occasion for artists to clear out their studios, it also serves other needs. Those who have been the victims of gifts of art, for example, are invited to dispose of these unwanted aesthetic presents at the museum. And as the Smiths note, “Many successful artists have recently voiced embarrassment that their work commands high prices. Artists may also use the opportunity of the Art Amnesty to expel certain works of art from the art market and demote them to objects unburdened by grand expectations and dashed dreams.” The Smiths will be the first to contribute to the Art Amnesty, discarding a batch of work previously exhibited in New York.

Me, Me, Me

Laurel Nakadate

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What’s the name of this blog? Oh, yeah:  Too Much Art. I was reminded of the title’s rationale while visiting P.S. 1 the other day.

Not that I was at MOMA’s avant-gardist outpost expecting to see art. Experience tells me that this event is unlikely, if not altogether out of the question. But much the same way I occasionally leaf through Artforum in order to marvel at proof of life on other planets, I’ll wander through P.S. 1 in the hope that the bric-a-brac on display will be more diverting than the building itself.

Good luck enjoying that much what with photographer and video artist Laurel Nakadate festooning her work from floor to ceiling. Who is Nakadate? She’s a graduate of Yale University, a pusher of “a mailbag’s worth of envelopes” (a description courtesy The New York Times), a “provocateur” (ditto), exotic, beautiful and sad, so sad–365 large photos of 365 days of self-induced tears are the centerpiece of Only The Lonely, the mid-career retrospective mounted by P.S. 1.

But mostly Nakadate is a narcissist. Who isn’t, right? But Nakadate–well, she’s special.

Imagine this: Two commercial airliners are hijacked by terrorists and are sent crashing into a pair of buildings in a major American city. What’s the first thing a New York City artist does? Set up a camera, film the scene as best as able and slip on a Girl Scout uniform. Then she plants herself in front of the lens and looks pensive, really pensive, as plumes of smoke darken an otherwise idyllic September day. Anything is fair game in the cause of art.

Laurel Nakadate on 9/11

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Elsewhere, Nakadate engages myriad men of a certain age and class–men unknown to the artist, it’s important to note–and films the subsequent close encounters, contrasting her young and supple body with their not so young and supple bodies. Overlay the films with schlock pop music–Neil Diamond, say, or Britney Spears–and you have, according to Jerry Saltz, “crackerjack” work by “a kind of aggressive ‘Olympia’ presence, artificial, at risk, and dangerous simultaneously”. Saltz thinks condescension and exploitation count as art. So does P.S. 1 Director Klaus Biedenbach. He organized Only The Lonely.

Artist Laurel Nakadate and uncredited collaborator

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Doesn’t Nakadate worry about her safety when filming these cinematic ventures?

“I always thought there was something so beautiful about getting attacked and turned on by something we can’t see.”

Rape, or the threat of it, is a “beautiful” thing.

I was late in seeing Only The Lonely; the show’s been up since January. Critical response has been wishy-washy–Ken Johnson at the Times being the most egregious example. The “sympathetic view”, Johnson writes, “is that [Nakadate] has been tapping into a river of grief and loneliness under the surface of American life.” Sympathy will be the death of, if not lonely Americans, then the life of art. Enough, Ken; stop it.

Over at Art Vent, Carol Diehl proved refreshingly caustic, attributing the limitations of Nakadate’s work to “art school conceits” and prurient appeal:

“Men become unhinged at the sight of a young woman in her underwear”. 

True enough, but it’s also worth noting that only a bright young thing could get away with this booty-shaking brand of artistic expression.

Arguments and opinions will circle around Nakadate’s achievement, its salacious mix of blatant intentions, specious theorizing and cruel aestheticism guaranteeing the artist this brief moment in the Long Island City sun.

© 2011 Mario Naves