Thursday, July 3, 2008
I've never been to P.S 1
Hooray - I finally did something on my list today, and it only took me three days! P.S 1 is an outpost of the MOMA here in New York, and while I've been to the MOMA many times since it reopened, I had never been to P.S 1 before, and I do love me some modern art. So I took the 7 train out to queens (I don't think I've ever had occasion to take the 7 train before this either) and even though you can see the building when exiting the subway, I still managed to get lost twice before I located the huge old school.
I guess they put the museum out in Queens because the big space was cheaper, but it definitely has a "too cool for school" lower east side vibe to it. First of all, there are pretty much no explanations for any of the installations, so you have no idea why there is a video screen with a guy playing a clarinet badly while a monkey looks on, even after you watch it for a few minutes. I'm actually not the biggest fan of video art installations because I feel like I'm watching tv, which feels entirely unartistic. There were also paintings and sculptures, some that really spoke to me, and some that really spooked me. There was one room that had a big silver bowl filled with water and a stuffed rabbit peering into the water - I think it was titled "confusion" and I was definitely confused by it. I got totally freaked out by a bunch of metal underwater suits hanging up in a dark room and "making" very loud clanging noises, but I liked that it elicited such a strong reaction from me. The second floor was a special exhibition of various forms of artist representations of social protest, including a room devoted to different takes on patriotism and the american flag . One piece was just an official photo of President Bush hung upside down, and another was a shopping cart full of hundreds of pin-on buttons with photos of the american flag on them. There were no real explanations for any of the pieces, so somebody like my Mom, who wouldn't recognize the faces of the members of the band Bon Jovi circa 1987, would have had trouble appreciating the irony of the photo of said band members posing in the same formation with a flag as the soldiers in the very famous Iwo Jima photo. This is what I mean by the museum being too cool for school - isn't art supposed to be for everybody?
Although a lot of stuff left me scratching my proverbial head, I still really enjoyed myself because whether I got what the artist was trying to convey or not, most of the things made me start thinking about something - even if it was whether they should be considered "art" or not - and the fact that all of it was thought provoking makes it interesting and artistic to me. I would definitely go back, but next time I'll go to the MOMA first (admission to P.S 1 is free if you have a MOMA ticket that's less than a month old) to see the Picassos and Pollacks and Rothkos and see if I can find anything of a conversation between those guys and these stuffed rabbits and clarinet playing monkeys. Whether I find it or not, the thought process will definitely stir up my brain in ways only art - any art - can.
And speaking of art - here's a photo of the rustic armoire my dad and I made using an antique barn door, and then antiquing the rest to match (he did all the carpentry and I did the painting). It's a real monster standing at almost 7 foot tall, and 3 foot wide. If that doesn't fit all my stuff, it's time to get rid of something.