Last year’s Cross-Museum Collective was a whirlwind of incredible, art-related experiences, from behind-the-scenes tours of MoMA’s Security Department (thanks LJ!) to hanging out with the conservation staff (thanks Roger!) to spending week after week exploring the galleries of MoMA PS1 and the spectacular work there—it’s insane just how much we were able to accomplish. Two of the most amazing experiences we had were the in-depth interview we conducted with Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt during his Tender Love Among the Junk exhibition, and the day-long performance event we created in collaboration with Ryan McNamara. In both instances, the artists shared an incredible amount of personal experience and artistic knowledge with the group, and transformed the way we looked at what it means to be an artist in the process.
On sale now at ARTBOOK @ MoMA PS1 are three art objects created by the Cross-Museum Collective teens, all based on their experiences working with McNamara and Lanigan-Schmidt. These items were created by the collective, and screen printed by hand at Bushwick Print Lab, an incredible print studio and gallery space located in the bustling 1717 Troutman Avenue studio building. The printmaking workshop took place on the very last meeting of this year’s Cross-Museum Collective season, and it was the perfect way to finish up the year. While no one in the Collective necessarily knew what they were doing, the crew at Bushwick Print Lab were the perfect guides throughout the process. We’re so happy to be able to share our hard work with everyone, and to be able to sell these projects through an amazing store like ARTBOOK @ MoMA PS1 makes everything even more special.
Printed on heavy-duty paper and hand-folded by the Collective, the zine compiles a selection of excerpts from the Lanigan-Schmidt interview and pairs them with photo-booth images of the artist as a young man. The excerpts run the gamut from personal recollections of growing up gay in the 1960s, to his earliest memories of art and art making, to thoughts on the nature of attraction and sexuality, to the ways in which our relationship with art changes as we mature and grow. It’s a fascinating look at an artist whose work is just now getting the exposure and respect that it deserves, and is also an important snapshot of the earliest days of our country’s gay rights movement. The poster that was created takes these same photo-booth images of Lanigan-Schmidt, and combines them to form a “Rock and Roll idol” image of the artist in his youth.
Cross-Museum Collective: “Do you consider your art controversial in any way?”
Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt: “Never. Because, I mean, each one of us is our own self. So we don’t know what other people think of us until they start telling us we’re controversial, right? Because, you know, ever since you’re a baby you’ve looked at the same hands… They haven’t.”
For the Ryan McNamara poster, the Collective arranged a series of images of themselves in the act of performing their individual pieces in the galleries of MoMA PS1, and coupled these images with the texts that they each wrote prior to enacting their events. These texts range from the sublime (“I will approach visitors silently and gently take their hand”) to the shocking (“I plan to be tied up in the entrance/exit of a doorway,” “So what do you think about me gliding across the floor in my socks and underwear—maybe singing?”) to the downright silly (“So the only things I would bring are banana peels, and if it’s ok with MoMA I’ll just put them down in the center of a room in the shape of a Z”). The images combine with the text to create a portrait of the Collective’s projects, but also of the Collective itself—the community that was created, and the friendships that were formed, and the amazing projects that grew from these artistic experiences. Like Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt says in the zine: “Well, we grow, and we develop vocabularies to express ourselves. I mean, that’s what art and all communion and communication is about. And that’s the basis of what art is all about. Art is one of the best forms of arriving at that kind of interconnection with people.” Thanks to everyone from last year’s Cross-Museum Collective for growing with us, and communing with us, and for connecting with us, and creating with us. It was a life-changing experience.
Special thanks to Mark Joshua Epstein and Matthew Evans for running the CMC last year, and to Chris Lew, LJ Hartman, Roger Griffith, Allie Pisarro-Grant, Printed Matter Inc, Bushwick Print Lab, and all of the members of the 2013 Cross-Museum Collective: Alya, John, Otis, Zoe, Stephanie, Skylar, Emily, Christian, Bianca, Julia, Betzy, and Katharine! Extra special thanks to Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt and Ryan McNamara.
Posters are available at ARTBOOK @ MoMA PS1 for $25 each, zines for $15 each. All proceeds from the sale of the posters and zines will help fund MoMA PS1 educational programming initiatives.