Published in
Gallerina

The Meh Generation: 'Greater New York' at 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.

 

 

Electric Light: Detail of a painting by Kerstin Bratsch for DAS INSTITUT.
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).'
Images of boat refugees make up the lobby installation by Xaviera Simmons: 'Superunkown (Alive in The).' ( Carolina A. Miranda )
Another of Pinar Yolaçan's faceless goddesses: 'Untitled,' 2009. Totally S&M.
Another of Pinar Yolaçan's faceless goddesses: 'Untitled,' 2009. Totally S&M. ( Courtesy Pinar Yolaçan )
Artist David Brooks takes aim at deforestation with this first-floor piece, which features nursery-grown trees doused in dirt and concrete.
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.
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.
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.
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.
'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.
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.
'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.
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.
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.
Zipora Fried's 'Armoire' was studded with hundreds of knives -- surely an act of domestic violence. ( Carolina A. Miranda )
of