Posts in ‘1969’
December 14, 2009  |  1969
W: The Further Adventures
Kermit and W

Kermit and W. From premiere episode of Sesame Street, December 10, 1969. Sesame Street Unpaved

As one of our contributions to the exhibition 1969 at P.S.1, Matthew Day Jackson and I pay tribute to Sesame Street. In the show’s first episode, broadcast on November 10, 1969, Kermit the Frog tries to deliver a lecture on the letter W. He’s foiled first by Cookie Monster, who devours Kermit’s prop, then by the W itself, which comes to life and attacks him. Kermit is in 1969, gone grey to reflect other presences in the show. W lurks nearby as well.

W is a shifty sort of letter. To pronounce it we say “double-u,” but the pronunciation conspicuously lacks the /w/ sound it alleges to represent. To write it we mash two V’s together; it possesses no independent shape of its own.

W’s history is similarly suspect. The Latin alphabet, which evolved from a variant of the Greek alphabet circa the seventh century BC, did not originally feature the letter. In the Middle Ages scribes began knitting two V’s together in a ligature in order to represent sounds in Germanic languages not found in medieval Latin. Read more

November 30, 2009  |  1969
The Bruce High Quality Foundation Intervenes in 1969
YouTube Preview Image

One of the most interesting aspects of organizing exhibitions at P.S.1 is the focus on living artists. For the current 1969 exhibition—which explores a wide range of art in MoMA’s collection made during this turbulent year—we invited a younger group of artists to create interventions in the galleries that reflect and even disrupt the collection show. We included The Bruce High Quality Foundation as their work is rooted in artistic practices that emerged in the late ’60s, especially Bruce Nauman’s studio performances and Joseph Beuys’s conflation of art and broader society. Additionally, the collaborative nature of the Foundation resonates with many of the collective actions of the period. In keeping with their anonymous mode of operations, the Foundation secretly enacted this masked showdown with the 1969 artworks while the exhibition was being installed.