Lo and behold, a post NOT about exercise or healthy eating or the struggle with both of those things.
As I’ve said before, this originally started as a blog about my efforts to find all the interesting things lurking out there in NYC for me to fill my days with (easy) and then commit myself to actually doing them (hard) and then writing about them as proof that yes! I did something that day other than eat and watch TV (harder). But today, in honor of MLK Jr. Day and the fact that my office was closed on that day for the first time ever (literally, after 2 jobs and 4.5 years out of college, this was the first time I have ever had this day off), I did one of those things, and now, here I am writing about it.
The only thing I like more than a fun little field trip/activity is a fun little FREE field trip/activity, so when Rebecca, my museum buddy extraordinaire, announced that after her parents’ last trip to NYC, they had left us the free admission passes to MoMA PS1 attached to the tickets they had used for the regular MoMA and we should do a field trip there, I was very much all about it.
So despite the fact that winter has arrived with a vengeance (the only saving grace being that it’s going to be 5-7 degrees colder for the rest of the week, hooray), we grabbed a cheap diner breakfast at an old favorite and boarded the E/M train to head out to Long Island City for a field trip.
I am going to fail miserably at explaining what PS1 actually is, so I’m just going to steal outright from the PS1 About page: “MoMA PS1 is one of the oldest and largest nonprofit contemporary art institutions in the United States. An exhibition space rather than a collecting institution, MoMA PS1 devotes its energy and resources to displaying the most experimental art in the world. A catalyst and an advocate for new ideas, discourses, and trends in contemporary art, MoMA PS1 actively pursues emerging artists, new genres, and adventurous new work by recognized artists in an effort to support innovation in contemporary art.”
And, friends, let me tell you. They are not kidding when they say “experimental.”
A step back: I like museums. I have a pretty deep appreciation for lots of kinds of art. I will not be able to tell you much about anything, as I failed miserably in my quest to find an Art History class in my college course catalog entitled “Everything You Should Know About Art In Order to Impress Your Friends When You Aren’t Ever Going To Take an Art History Class Again.” But in general, I like a lot of different types of things.
But I do not know what the EFF was going on in most of these exhibits. Some things were really, really cool to look at, and I can appreciate that so many of the artists were born only 1-5 years before me (Hey, thanks MoMA). But everything there was exactly what you would imagine in a gallery full of contemporary art: footage of a woman in traditional Muslim garb lip-syncing to the Jeff Buckley cover of “Hallelujah” (best ever), weird video installations…
…videos of people pouring bottles of Poland Spring into a bathtub and saying nice things to its occupant, a few hallways of combined poloroids (which I’ll admit was my favorite part of the entire museum)…
So, I will admit that weird experimental contemporary art isn’t really my thing. But when it’s free and a good field trip, I can dig it. I may not have understood any of it (and even been weirded out by some of it), but hey, these artists are out there, doing their thing, and I think they can live with the fact that I am not really sure what they were trying to accomplish with it. And if nothing else, the gallery is in an old public school building, and as a proud alum of the NYC public school system it was fun to re-live the fun of weirdly claustrophobic staircases and eerily wide hallways. Even if the whole place kind of reminded me of a haunted mental hospital. Good times.
My biggest regret of the day isn’t going out there (because no cultural experience is ever wasted, especially when it’s free and your only other activity option for the day was lying on the couch watching DVR’d episodes of House Hunters, which is awesome, but not particularly productive) was that we hadn’t made plans to eat at M. Wells dinette.
But yeah, so, if you like weird experimental art, or if you don’t but want to have a weird cultural experiment, or if you like places that feel weirdly haunted, or if you like having inappropriate words screamed at you by CGI faces and getting to call it LEARNING, get yourself to MoMA PS1 immediately.