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February 20, 2014  |  Events & Programs
Shadows and Selves: MoMA Collaborates with Midtown Community Court’s UPNEXT Program

UPNEXT is a comprehensive parenting program operating through Midtown Community Court that helps fathers to support their children both emotionally and financially. The UPNEXT program offers assistance to fathers who are struggling with unemployment and having difficulty paying child support; who are engaged in seeking custody of or visitation rights with their children; or are simply looking for ways to be more involved in their child’s life. Read more

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Museum as Laboratory: Artists Experiment

What happens when the Museum turns into a laboratory for artists?

This year MoMA’s Department of Education invited artists Allison Smith, Paul Ramirez Jonas, and the creative collective The Office for Creative Research to be part of the second year of Artists Experiment, an initiative to develop public engagement experiences through collaboration with contemporary artists. Exploring MoMA’s history, resources, and spaces, each of these artists approaches the Museum like a laboratory—a place for thinking, collaborating, and experimenting with the museum experience and our visitors.

Allison Smith. Troops Drilling at Fort Jay, part of The Muster project. 2005. Photo: Amy Elliot

Allison Smith. Troops Drilling at Fort Jay, part of The Muster project. 2005. Photo: Amy Elliot

San Francisco–based artist Allison Smith’s work investigates the cultural phenomenon of historical reenactment, or “living history,” using it as a means of addressing the relationship between American history, social activism, and craft.

Paul Ramirez Jonas. Key to the City. 2010. Image courtesy of Paul Ramirez Jonas

Paul Ramirez Jonas. Key to the City. 2010. Image courtesy of Paul Ramirez Jonas

At MoMA, Allison is researching the history of the Department of Education, specifically exploring the work and programs developed by MoMA’s first director of education, Victor D’Amico. Allison is considering how MoMA’s rich history can speak to our current education practices, mining strategies and ideas from the past to inspire new experiences at the Museum today.

Brooklyn-based artist Paul Ramirez Jonas is interested in articulating shared stories and histories, working with and transforming different forms of public art and public symbols.

Paul has been looking at the visitor experience at MoMA, exploring public spaces designed for interaction including the bookstore and the Museum’s information desks.

He asks the question, how can we build on the visitor experience at MoMA.

New York–based collective The Office for Creative Research (O-C-R) includes artists and data experts Jer Thorp, Ben Rubin, and Mark Hansen, a multidisciplinary research group exploring new modes of engagement with data, through unique practices that borrow from science, technology, and the arts.

The Office of Creative Research. And That's The Way It Is. 2012. Image courtesy of the artists

The Office for Creative Research. And That’s The Way It Is. 2012. Image courtesy of the artists

O-C-R is looking at massive amounts of information from the Museum’s collection database. From image titles to notes on how to install a work, O-C-R is thinking about how this data can be explored and activated by Museum visitors to facilitate interaction, learning, and exchange.

What can you expect?

Throughout the winter and spring, Artists Experiment will present a range of programs and interactions developed with each of these artists. To kick things off, we invite you to join us for the January 29 launch event, Social Exchange: Artists’ Reception. This special event is a chance to meet the artists in person and get a little taste of what’s to come. The Office for Creative Research and Allison Smith are creating an interactive, performative work for the evening, and Chef Lynn Bound is preparing a special menu in collaboration with Paul Ramirez Jonas. We hope you’ll join us for this warm, winter celebration!

Look out for other upcoming Artists Experiment programs at MoMA.org/artistsexperiment.

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November 11, 2013  |  Events & Programs, Learning and Engagement
MoMA Art Lab: Movement—Why Play with Spinning Tops and Tinker Toys?
Activity testing for MoMA Art Lab: Movement. Photo: Jackie Armstrong

Activity testing for MoMA Art Lab: Movement. Photo: Jackie Armstrong

Recently, Family Programs staff were interested in testing out some of the activities under consideration for MoMA Art Lab: Movement before it opened (on October 10, 2013). Formative evaluation is a “try it out” method that is less formal than other evaluation types. Read more

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October 17, 2013  |  Events & Programs, Learning and Engagement
(FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions
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Photograph courtesy of Paul Ramirez Jonas

As part of my research for Artists Experiment, I went to MoMA to sit side by side with the volunteers that staff the information desks. I was not 100% sure what I would find, but my instincts told me that there was something interesting about the situation Read more

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Games Artists Play, at MoMA
Pablo Helguera (left) and the author (right)

Pablo Helguera (left) and the author (right)

Teaching a workshop on art and game theory is the second cooperative venture Pablo Helguera and I have undertaken in the last couple of years. The first was a diet. Bear with me; the two are not unrelated. Frustrated with our personal efforts to shed a couple of pounds, we were ready for an experiment. A website offered a new set of motivations: We were required to report our weight to one another on a weekly basis, to allow our wives to monitor our progress, and (here is the kicker) we gave them our credit card information with the understanding that if we failed to lose the specified weight, we would automatically donate money to the National Rifle Association (NRA). How is this related? Game theory studies how and why people make decisions. Pablo and I wanted to lose weight but we also enjoyed eating —and the latter was prevailing, one dessert at a time. The structure of the diet added new elements to our decisions—our weight became public, our competitive natures were activated, and given our feelings about the NRA, our political and moral sense was now at stake in our menu decisions. No donations were made. The pounds melted away. It would have been a considerably different situation if the rules had been changed—for example if there were a slim and happy winner and a loser who ignominiously and publicly contributed to the NRA. Had we entered a diet with those rules we might have emerged even thinner, but as friends, we most likely would not have joined in the first place.

Game theory opens a set tools to think about rational and irrational decisions. These decisions are always conceived in terms of pairs and groups—otherwise they are not games—so we can begin to understand how we decide what to do in relation to other people. If we are interested in art that is relational, interactive, cooperative, or participatory perhaps we should look at this theory of relations. Pablo and I are not experts in game theory. But we both think games like the Prisoner’s Dilemma, the Dictator Game, the Ultimatum Game, and others are interesting starting points for a discussion of interpersonal behavior. When played in public—as we intend to do in the class—the games have an interesting performative quality that can lead to a rich conversation on a topic we are quite conversant in—participatory, cooperative art. Quite frankly, as much as we have written about social practice art, this is a new field, and we are all still struggling to get a handle on how to think about it.

I’m looking forward to the workshop as an experiment in this emerging discussion and hope you will join us on October 22 and 24 at MoMA for Games Artists Play: The Game as a Socially Engaged Art Form.

 

 

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MoMA Class: The Market Is the Medium
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Workers dining outside the Museum on 54 Street before an exhibition opening. Photo: Amy Whitaker

I first started teaching business as a creative practice when I landed at the Slade School of Fine Art in London to study for an MFA in painting—MBA already in hand.  Read more

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October 1, 2013  |  Artists, Events & Programs
An Interview with cyclo. (Ryoji Ikeda and Carsten Nicolai)
cyclo. (Ryoji Ikeda and Carsten Nicolai) in performance, 2011. Photo: YCAM Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media

cyclo. (Ryoji Ikeda and Carsten Nicolai) in performance, 2011. Photo: YCAM Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media

In conjunction with the Museum’s first major exhibition of sound art, Soundings: A Contemporary Score, MoMA’s PopRally committee is thrilled to present the first U.S. performance by cyclo. (Carsten Nicolai and Ryoji Ikeda), entitled cyclo.id., on October 6. Read more

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September 23, 2013  |  Events & Programs, Learning and Engagement
The Real History of Multimedia
Homage to New York: a Self-Constructing & Self-Destroying Work of Art Conceived and Built by Jean Tinguely. Exhibition Date: March 17, 1960. Photographer: David Gahr

Homage to New York: a Self-Constructing and Self-Destroying Work of Art Conceived and Built by Jean Tinguely. The Museum of Modern Art, March 17, 1960. Photo: David Gahr

I began my scholarly work on the history of multimedia when I discovered, much to my surprise and dismay, that most people thought it all started in the 1980s with the personal computer and the CD-ROM. Read more

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September 6, 2013  |  Events & Programs, MoMA PS1, Warm Up
Warm Up 2013: A Platform for Design
Delicate SteveFort Makers stage set design for Warm Up 2012 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

Delicate Steve performs in Fort Makers’ stage set design for Warm Up 2011 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Erin Kornfeld

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.

PartyParty Hanging Paper Decorations by CONFETTISYSTEM

PartyParty Hanging Paper Decorations by CONFETTISYSTEM

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.

CONFETTISYSTEM
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:

CONFETTISYSTEM stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

CONFETTISYSTEM stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

 

CONFETTISYSTEM stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

NHK’Koyxen performs in CONFETTISYSTEM’s stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel


Fort Makers

Fort Makers' Action Painting installation

Action Painting installation by Fort Makers

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.

Fort Makers stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

Empress Of performs in Fort Makers’ stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

From left: Detail of Fort Makers stage set design; A young Warm Up reveler with a Fort Maker's mask. Photos: Charles Roussel

From left: Detail of Fort Makers stage set design; A young Warm Up reveler with a Fort Maker’s mask. Photos: Charles Roussel

Fort Standard
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:

Fort Standard stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

Octave One performs in Fort Standard’s stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

Fort Standard inflatables designed for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

Fort Standard’s inflatables designed for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

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.

Thunder Horse Video stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

J. Cole performs in Thunder Horse Video’s stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

The Principals
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!

The Principals' stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

The Principals stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

 

The Principals' stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

Cajmere performs in The Principals’ stage set design for Warm Up 2013 at MoMA PS1. Photo: Charles Roussel

Spatium Yamamoto from The Principals on Vimeo.

Warm Up stage designs were made robust and beautiful by the incredible installation team of Gabriela Scopazzi, Teshia Treuhaft, and Sam Berman.

Asking the Big Questions: Agora Conversations in MoMA’s Sculpture Garden
Agora: What makes something art?, facilitated by Petra Pankow. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, July 9, 2013

Agora: What makes something art?, facilitated by Petra Pankow. The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, July 9, 2013

“What do we want from museums?” As the topic for the final meeting of this summer’s educator-facilitated, public discussion series, Agora, this question fittingly articulated the line of thinking that motivated the program’s unique format and approach. While Agora (named after the ancient Greek tradition of philosophical inquiry) Read more