A Trip to MoMA PS1

I am a born New Yorker and in true New York style, I’m always searching for something interesting and new to see and do. One of the great things about living in New York is there’s always something new to explore, even if you think you’ve seen it all.

I recently moved to Brooklyn after living in Manhattan for 4 years. This has unearthed a whole new borough of things to experience, and my branching out has made me more adventurous when it comes to exploring the OTHER boroughs (gulp). On a recent sunny Saturday, I decided to venture out to Long Island City in Queens to visit one of these places I had never been: PS 1.

PS 1 is a branch of the MoMA that happens to be in a gorgeous, renovated school building. Each “classroom” houses a different exhibition of contemporary art from all over the world. Even the hallways and staircases are pieces of art, if you look closely. Cracks in the walls and the floor are hiding some pretty cool things—don’t blink or you’ll miss them!

Janet Cardiff: The Forty Part Motet.  2001. © MoMA PS1 www.momaps1.org

Janet Cardiff: The Forty Part Motet. 2001. © MoMA PS1 www.momaps1.org

A few of the exhibits in particular stood out to me. The Forty Part Motet by Janet Cardiff blew me away. You enter a room that is much bigger than most with high ceilings and are surrounded by forty single speakers on their own stands. You are surrounded by the sounds of a choir singing this beautiful piece of music, but when you start to walk the perimeter of the room, you realize that each one of the speakers represents a single person’s voice in the choir. Brilliant. You can really appreciate the fact that all of these single voices make this gorgeous sound. Sitting in the middle of the circle of speakers is like the ultimate surround sound. It gave me chills.

James Turrell. Meeting. 1986. Photograph by Michael Moran. www.momaps1.org

James Turrell. Meeting. 1986. Photograph by Michael Moran. © MoMA PS1 www.momaps1.org

Another great exhibit was called Meeting by James Turrell, which I learned has been at PS1 since 1986. It’s a small room with benches around the perimeter and a rectangle cut out of the ceiling, so that you can look up and see the sky. There are orange lights placed around the room, which complement the blue of the sky and make the color so intense that it’s hard to look at. I was fortunate enough to visit the museum on a beautiful day, so I could really experience this room the way it was meant to be experienced. This exhibit is only open if the weather is nice.

Installation views of Surasi Kusolwong at MoMA PS1, 2011. © MoMA PS1, 2011; Photo: Matthew Septimus.

Installation views of Surasi Kusolwong at MoMA PS1, 2011. © MoMA PS1, 2011; Photo: Matthew Septimus. www.momaps1.org

Last but not least, there was Golden Ghost (The Future Belongs To Ghosts) by Surasi Kusolwong. I saw this room when I first walked in, and I walked right by because there were tons of children playing in it, and I wasn’t sure what it was about. On second glance, I realized just how cool this installation was. It’s a big space with colorful, tangled fabric shreds piled high and covering the floor (now you can understand why there were so many children). Hidden within these shreds of fabric are gold necklaces and if you are lucky enough to find one, you are welcome to keep it. The installation is a metaphor for finding something worthwhile and special in a world of excess. I unfortunately did not go home with a necklace but I was wowed by the interactive exhibit, I highly recommend visiting it.

If you are in the area or looking for something interesting and different to do, definitely make the trek over to Long Island City and spend some time at PS1, you’ll be glad you did.

–Carrie

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