The Meh Generation: 'Greater New York' at PS1

Sunday, May 23, 2010 - 06:00 AM

Boro, 2009, by the Turkish-born Pinar Yolaçan -- part of 'Mother Goddess,' a series featuring faceless women clad in highly unusual body suits. (Courtesy of AMC/INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, via PS1)

If Greater New York, the broad survey of contemporary art at PS1 reveals anything about the state of our culture, it's that we're wallowing in a heavy malaise.

The show, a look at the work of more than five dozen artists working in the greater metropolitan area, can get exhausting. There are statements about our crippled environment (plants doused in concrete), domestic anguish (an armoire studded with knives) and insalubrious sexuality (one artist photographed his mother having sex). Overall, there seems to be a lot of chatter about what is wrong with our society, but little on how to set things right.

Thankfully, the show isn't all all disaffected negativity. Like all surveys, this is a mixed bag -- and there are some wonderful bright spots. A number of pieces stand out for their passion and inventiveness. Three of our favorites:

Pinar Yolaçan, the Mother Goddess series: An otherworldy photographic series, in which the photographer known for taking elegant portraits of women wearing meat (yes, meat), turns her attention to zaftig ladies clad in full bodysuits that obscure their faces. It's part S&M, part Venus of Willendorf -- all of it weirdly and totally gripping. (The Moment has a good slideshow if you want to see more.)

Rashaad Newsome, the conductor (fortuna imperatrix mundi) & the conductor (primo vere omnia sol temperat): Set to a pumping, remixed Carmina Burana, Newsome has spliced together hundreds of hand gestures taken from hip-hop and other videos, and timed them so that they appear to conduct the music. The effect: Positively hypnotizing. You can view the piece on Newsome's website, but nothing beats the big-screen, surround-sound set-up at the museum.

Sharon Hayes, REVOLUTIONARY LOVE: I AM YOUR WORST FEAR, I AM YOUR BEST FANTASY: This large-scale video and object installation features footage and audio that the artist shot during two performances that she organized at the political conventions in 2008. Part love letter, part queer politics manifesto, part flamboyant act of defiance, this energizing piece features participants doing a group reading of a text written by Hayes. Do not miss.

Greater New York opens on Sunday, May 23, at PS1, in Long Island City.



Carolina A. Miranda
Electric Light: Detail of a painting by Kerstin Bratsch for DAS INSTITUT.
Carolina A. Miranda
Images of boat refugees make up the lobby installation by Xaviera Simmons: 'Superunkown (Alive in The).'
Courtesy Pinar Yolaçan
Another of Pinar Yolaçan's faceless goddesses: 'Untitled,' 2009. Totally S&M.
Carolina A. Miranda
Artist David Brooks takes aim at deforestation with this first-floor piece, which features nursery-grown trees doused in dirt and concrete.
Carolina A. Miranda
Franklin Evans 'timecompressionmachine' provides a wonderful opportunity to walk all over art press release. The shoes are my addition.
Carolina A. Miranda
A room-sized install by Ismael Randall Weeks featured a stack of Architectural Digest magazines carved to look like mountains.
Carolina A. Miranda
Rock and Roll: Museum visitors are welcome to pluck the strings on this oversized instrument, titled 'Speaker Wall' by Naama Tsabar.
Carolina A. Miranda
'Untitled 2 (Coogan's Big Duster), a wall sculpture by Sam Moyer.
Carolina A. Miranda
A splash of color in an exhibit that had little of it: 'A Birthday Party Since October 3, 2008,' a painting by Dave Miko.
Carolina A. Miranda
'88,' a roll-sized print by Mariah Robertson, stretches out into the floor of one of the upstairs galleries.
Carolina A. Miranda
Caleb Considine's paintings had a quiet edge to them. This one, 'Untitled,' is from 2010.
Carolina A. Miranda
Laberintos (after Octavio Paz), by William Cordova, a labyrinth made of record albums.
Carolina A. Miranda
Zipora Fried's 'Armoire' was studded with hundreds of knives -- surely an act of domestic violence.


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Comments [4]

sand from Manhattan

Zipora Fried's piece Armoire is also referencing the deeper psychological symbolism of an accumulation of pain through time and one's resistance towards this act. To say that it is obviously about domestic violence reduces the work. Muting its poetic gesture by describing a very specific theme. Zipora's work is more layered than this and its complexity requires further observation.

Jun. 07 2010 09:37 AM

love your headline title! look forward to seeing the show.

May. 25 2010 05:30 PM

hey folks: i'm cool with people disagreeing with me or being critical of an artist's work, but let's be civil...


May. 24 2010 11:10 AM
sand from Manhattan

Its sad that so much attention is paid to a badly made video by Rashaad Newsome. This artist has to be the biggest put on since Mark Kostabi. I've never seen such bad work from a paint by numbers artist. being Gay has got to be the best new fad to get shown by the White intellectual art scene in New York today. I lived through the 80s NY scene and this has got to be a lower version of the Lower East Side scene I used to know. At least we had something to believe in besides the dollar or euro.

Good bye yellow brick road!

May. 24 2010 12:54 AM

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About Gallerina

Carolina A. Miranda is a regular contributor to WNYC and blogs about the arts for the station as "Gallerina." In addition to that, she contributes articles on culture, travel and the arts to a variety of national and regional media, including Time, ArtNews, Travel + Leisure and Budget Travel and Florida Travel + Life. She has reported on the burgeoning industry of skatepark design, architectural pedagogy in Southern California, the presence of street art in museums and Lima's burgeoning food scene, among many other subjects. In 2008, she was named one of eight fellows in the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program for her arts and architecture blog, which has received mentions in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In January of 2010, the Times named her one of nine people to follow on Twitter. Got a tip? E-mail her at c [@] c-monster [dot] net


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