At Least One Good Reason to Go to Long Island City
As a college student in the borough next to the greatest city in the world, you might feel that it behooves you to check out New York’s great art museums. And by all means, you should check out the Met or the Guggenheim. But, if and when you get tired of the bourgeois atmosphere and stuffy white walls, take a 7, G, or M train to Court Square to check out one of Queens’ hidden gems: MoMa’s P.S. 1. P.S. 1 is worth the trip for the architecture alone: set up in a renovated public school, the crumbling brick stairways, creaking wooden floors, and maze-like rows of white doors that either lead you to an exhibit or a janitor’s closet are works of art in and of themselves. But P.S. 1 is also a safe haven for contemporary and experimental art.
As you walk through the galleries (without much sense of direction, because they don’t seem big on maps here), you are followed by the echoes of music from one exhibit and the voices from a film in another. The current exhibit, 9 11, explores pre- and post- 9/11 art and thought in America. Walk into one room and immerse yourself in part of America’s violent history in Bruce Connor’s Film “Report”, which juxtaposes segments of film and audio from the Kennedy assassination with flashes of violent and neutral images; walk up a flight of cathedral-esque stairs, and find yourself in James Turell’s space-and-light focused exhibit, “Meeting”, where you can sit on a long wooden bench and bask in artificial sunlight. Just down the hall you’ll find Janet Cardiff’s “The Forty Part Motet”, forty speakers set up in a circle, each projecting a single voice in a choir. Take a seat in the middle and let the harmonies wash over you. Or, walk down to the boiler room and listen to Stephen Vitiello’s recordings made from the top of the World Trade Center after Hurricane Floyd. The sound of creaking steel and whining wind, coupled with the dank, unfinished, you-just-got-kidnapped feel of the basement will creep you out in a beautiful way. For the more traditional art enthusiast, John Pilson’s photographs, taken at the World Financial Center in the late evening and early morning, of objects left behind by employees who have left for the day, are beautiful in craft and haunting in potential meaning. Explore the work of lesser-known artists next to big names like Christo, Barbara Kruger, John Lennon, and John Williams. 9 11 will be on exhibit until January 9th, but if you don’t make it before it ends, don’t sweat it. There is always something fascinating going on at P.S. 1, and with free admission for Brooklyn College students (oh yeah!) you’ve got nothing to lose (except your preconceptions about art.)
Image Source: http://www.urban75.org/photos/newyork/images/ps1-art-long-island-14.jpg