Greater New York 2015 at PS1

The first show I ever saw at PS1 was Greater New York 2005, on a field trip with my “Galleries and Museums of New York” class, in my first semester of graduate school. Ahh, memories!

Apparently my visit was something of the opposite of Paddy Johnson & co, who went there straight from the airport and I had to hustle off to the airport so unfortunately I wasn’t able to view the whole show. It was a shame, as the first few photos and discussions in the review are interesting, yet I missed that part of the show.

Onward! I didn’t get a long/good read of the 2010 edition, though I remember thinking of it as crowded. Some of 2015 was crowded, other parts had plenty of space.

moffett
Donald Moffett’s Gold/Tunnel was early in the exhibition the way I went through and was the first thing that struck me. I hadn’t spent any time with his work before, and the layering of a monochromatic gold canvas and a video of water going under a stone bridge kept me interested for a while. There were a few more works of his further along in the galleries that I wouldn’t necessarily have guessed were by the same artist. (Fun to find in later research that he’s also a Texan and has the same alma mater as some family members.)

One of the works I most connected with was Glenn Ligon’s Housing in New York, a Brief History. It is framed around the circumstances that led him to and from the places he has lived, from his birth to 2007. I certainly connect with pegging life events to certain places, I still can’t visit Houston without cruising by the house I grew up in. It was interesting to connect with some of the places Ligon has lived, having recently left the Clinton Hill/Fort Greene area, where the artist spent the early 90’s, a very different time for the neighborhood. (On the very same visit that took me to PS1 for the exhibition, I was startled to find a Starbucks right next to a Chipotle, opened since I left in August of this year.) On a different side of the coin, I started working in Ligon’s current home of Tribeca during the same year the work was made. I am quite familiar with the Western Spirit store on the ground floor of his building that he mentions, and once spotted him in the nearby Starbucks.

harlem matriarch
Kevin Beasley’s Untitled/Harlem Matriarch is a striking three-dimensional work. Colorful, floral-printed house dresses cast in resin into a large, satellite-shaped disk that casts cool shadows.

Flynt-SAMO
Henry Flynt’s room full of photos of SAMO graffiti were of special interest to this Jean-Michel Basquiat fan. I’ve seen a few of the SAMO pieces smattered into exhibitions in the context of Basquiat’s work, but this was an excellent chance to get to know SAMO better, a line of photos around an entire gallery.

Mary Beth Edelman’s untitled collage (pictured at top) was one of my absolute favorite works in the exhibition. I enjoyed the idea that a seminal early feminist artist is still working on walls in PS1. It looked fantastic from far away but the detail was amazing as well, birds, sculptures, women mashed up throughout. There were other pieces of hers in the gallery, as well as a sculpture called Kali Bobbit in the big sculpture gallery on the second floor.

Bits and pieces in photo gallery + other notes:

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Juxtaposition of Ignacio Gonzales-Lang’s Kueens (2009) Ugo Rondinone’s dark lithe figure nude from 2010 was interesting, as the Gonzalez-Lang is a traditional african craft reading on a Ku Klux Klan outfit, in red.

Roy Colmer’s photos of downtown doors were another connection to old New York for me, as I’ve spent lots of time looking at doors and armitures in Soho.

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