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MOMA PS1 Summer Open House: Art for All

Ellen Levitt

Posted on June 11, 2019 22:13

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MOMA PS1 held a free open house event and it featured a variety of art exhibitions

One of my favorite museums in New York City is MOMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens. Housed in a late 1800s public school building, along with brutalist modern additions, this is a highly regarded site for experiencing contemporary and modern art of various media. I have seen a variety of exhibitions, a few incredibly moving and intriguing, some interesting, and a few that were head scratchers.

I have been visiting this museum for more than a dozen years, and I also like to bring family and friends here so as to gauge their reactions to this collection and to the campus itself. In fact, I enjoy PS1 not only for the art, but also for the many interesting views of the neighborhood. From windows throughout the building (even the bathrooms!) you can take in views of "LIC," a neighborhood of quaint old buildings almost side-by-side with new skyscrapers. LIC is in almost constant transition, for better or for worse, and you can absorb this from the PS1.

The museum became part of the Museum of Modern Art and is a funkier extension of that august institution. And on Sunday, June 9th they held a free open house event, a full afternoon of exhibitions, talks and more.

I brought my younger daughter, a friend and her daughter, and we met up with yet another friend and one of my cousins. Only my daughter and I had been here before, so it was interesting for me to gauge the experiences and filtering of my "crew". 

All of us enjoyed most the room of paintings by Chinese artist Zheng Guogu. His paintings for "Visionary Transformation" were colorful and highly detailed, a mixture of traditional religious motifs with a pop art sensibility. The word paintings of Native American artist Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds were stark commentaries about political and social issues; frank and unadorned, they were intriguing and not at all subtle.

Gina Beavers's exhibition "The Life I Deserve" included paintings that reflected themes on food, fashion and cosmetics; some of the paintings were quite humorous and others were meh. Julie Becker's "I Must Create a Master Piece to Pay the Rent" was funny and fun, but also touching in a nostalgic fashion. It included both an offbeat "house" with rooms that had disarray and peculiar collections, as well as a model or small-scale house that had strange little decorated rooms featuring the familiar Goldfish cracker snacks.

There were other exhibitions as well, and one major exhibition seemed to me to feature a lot of lazy, unfulfilled potential. You could chalk that up to the whims of contemporary art or to ornery personalities at work. 

My friends and my cousin and I discussed the works we saw, and everyone appreciated the fact that it was a no-cost event with a laid-back vibe. I noticed that the crowd was largely youngish; removing the admission cost does encourage interaction. Art, community and free: a strong combination.

Ellen Levitt

Posted on June 11, 2019 22:13

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Source: NYT

Children in a collaborative art workshop at last year’s Catch the Cool festival at the Queens Museum.

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