In the MoMA PS1 spirit of always being committed to finding opportunity for art in all places, Warm Up’s stage design initiative, in its fourth year, is making it’s own impact on the frenetic, interdisciplinary collision that makes Warm Up what it is.
Our Warm Up parties are explosive and dramatic interactions between musicians, artists whose work is on view in our galleries, young architects, curators, production masterminds, ecstatic sun-dappled dancers, M. Wells’ insanely delicious barbecue (which is not to be mistaken for anything less than art—try those blueberry slushies and you’ll know what I mean…), and of course our visitors, all of whom come together every Saturday to celebrate the summer months in our city, and to transform MoMA PS1 into a site for communal revelry.
For the past four years, in addition to the well-established voices that have been part of this collective celebration, design has become an integral part of the equation with teams of emerging local designers turning their skills towards creating a one-day installation in which the Warm Up artists perform. With the idea of invigorating the stage space and the courtyard, these designs stimulate performers as well as viewers.
Here is a look at the talented design teams who, with the aim of using the most light-weight, interesting, and sustainable materials they can find, set the tone every week, working to create a space that combines industrial design, 24-hour pop-up architecture, set design, party props, and, of course, a performance space.
As the originating artists for this program, Williamsburg-based CONFETTISYSTEM, comprised of duo Nicholas Andersen and Julie Ho, understands perfectly how to occupy the space between art, design, and all things party-related. With their signature piñatas and garlands—which were a crucial part of 100 Arrangements, the interactive and highly mutable performance space they installed in the MoMA PS1 duplex last year, and which are included in the MoMA Design Store’s Destination: NYC capsule collection—year after year CONFETTISYSTEM delivers incredible architectural alchemies from tissue paper, mylar, and rope. This year’s design was no exception:
Fort Makers—a Brooklyn-based artistic collaborative made up of Naomi Clark, Nana Spears, Noah Spencer, and Elizabeth Whitcomb—began working together by installing mobile structures or “forts” that function as nomadic, sculptural, inhabitable paintings in natural settings. They make a wide range of objects and initiate artistic interventions in various mediums and spaces, most recently installing an 80-foot painting on a cliff face as part of their Action Painting residency and solo exhibition at the 1708 Gallery in Richmond, VA. Last year, their Warm Up stage was inspired by an amalgam of Jean Arp’s Poupées and Ellsworth Kelly’s color palette, while this year they found inspiration from one of summertime’s most polpular water sources, the carwash. Fort Makers have cited artist Andrea Zittel as an inspiring touchstone for them artistically, finding particular resonance in her Escape Units and textile works, but also in the way all aspects of living are approached as a fertile ground for art making. In a nod towards this, they are bringing their stage out to the audience by making wearable textile masks that are a part of the surface that makes up the stage’s set.
Red Hook–based Greg Buntain and Ian Collings are Fort Standard, and together they produce simple and distinctive treasures based on carefully considered geometries from their pier-front studio. Their design this year plays with some of the new forms that can be seen in their latest line of objects. They took a break from launching their new jewelry line Clermont, and designing a barbershop in SoHo, to bedeck our stage with rotating, planetary forms, and to make billowing geometric inflatables that could crowdsurf throughout the MoMA PS1 courtyard:
Thunder Horse Video
When it comes to mixing light and video with sound, THV are the go-to rave laser maestros of New York. Playing with the conventions of live performance, and emphasizing dimensionality as opposed to frontality, they’ve brought unique elements to the Warm Up stage, ranging from bubble machines for Solange to bodega-style LED ticker signs hacked to display custom animations. THV’s particularly inventive approach to recontextualizing familiar materials in the service of party aesthetics never fails to make for an engaging performance. This year, they draped J. Cole’s headlining stage in camouflage netting normally used in hunting or by the military.
The Principals, comprised of Charles Constantine, Drew Seskunas, and Christopher Williams, are focused on interactivity in design, and especially the intersection between technology and traditional craftsmanship, which they test to its limits in their Greenpoint studio. Never content to merely look incredible, The Principals’ installations are physically and kinetically reactive to Warm Up’s beats. This year’s design is armed with sensors that make elements of the stage move with the music—their robotic installation reads sound vibrations, and reacts through motion and light. Inspired by classic rock iconography (in particular the aesthetics of Pink Floyd and the heavy metal parody band Spinal Tap) and the associative nature of transient musical evolution, The Principals have created an installation from a series of prismatic space frames embedded with motored reflectors that refract light through complex geometries in reaction to live musical performance. Their installation will be on view for the final Warm Up this weekend, don’t miss it!
Warm Up stage designs were made robust and beautiful by the incredible installation team of Gabriela Scopazzi, Teshia Treuhaft, and Sam Berman.