Featuring solo projects by Patti Smith, Adrián Villar Rojas, and Janet Cardiff as well as an international group show.
Rockaway!, a free public arts festival sponsored by the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) to celebrate the reopening of Fort Tilden and recognize the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway Peninsula, opens June 29 and continues through September 1, 2014.
Invited by the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA), an association of artists based in and around the Rockaways, and the JBRPC, MoMA PS1 has assisted and supported the conception of this festival. Hosted by the National Park Service (NPS), which owns and manages Fort Tilden, Rockaway! showcases the natural and historical beauty of Fort Tilden, in which RAA has had a public gallery for the past 19 years.
Rockaway! was conceived by MoMA PS1’s Director, Klaus Biesenbach, in close collaboration with Patti Smith. There will be an additional group show in the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, organized in collaboration with the Honolulu Biennial.
History of the Collaboration
MoMA PS1’s collaboration with RAA and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation (DPR) began with the VW Dome 2, a temporary cultural and community center the museum constructed on Beach 95th Street in Rockaway Beach following the rescue and volunteer efforts the museum organized in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy. Operated through June 30, 2013, the VW Dome 2 was made possible by a long-term partnership with Volkswagen of America.
Given its work on the VW Dome 2, MoMA PS1 was in a unique position to facilitate a coordinated effort between the newly established JBRPC, a public-private partnership with NPS and DPR dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway Peninsula, and local artists and community groups in the Rockaways. Rockaway! is an encouraging example of the many collaborations that have developed through the challenging process of rebuilding the Rockaways.
The acclaimed international artist, writer, and musician Patti Smith—a Rockaway resident—conceived a large-scale installation, photography exhibition, and site-specific outdoor installation (The Resilience of the Dreamer) specially for Rockaway! Having witnessed personal belongings of Rockaway residents being destroyed and washed away during Sandy, Smith will install a gilded four-post bed with pure white linens in a long-abandoned building that lacks windows and parts of its roof. The bed will wear down physically, yet remain in place, a symbol of courage and resilience.
In the RAA galleries, an exhibition of photographs taken by Smith over the last several years focuses on objects that were dear to their owners: Robert Mapplethorpe’s slippers, Robert Graves's hat, Virginia Woolf’s bed, Frida Kahlo’s corset, and William Burroughs's bandana, among others. The adjoining gallery is dedicated to Walt Whitman and includes books of his poetry that visitors are invited to read. Smith has also placed five granite stones engraved with verses from Whitman’s poetry along the trails of Fort Tilden to mark the far ends of this scenic urban park on the ocean.
In addition, the Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas will present a selection of small sculptures made from unfired clay and straw, inspired by the nests of the tiny Argentinian birds known as horneros. Installed in several locations throughout Fort Tilden, these nests invite local birds to inhabit them, offering a temporary home in this beautiful and fragile environment. These nests—a number of which can be found along the impressive hills and former batteries—also highlight the military history of Fort Tilden, which was built to provide protection against a potential enemy invasion from the ocean.
Thanks to a loan from The Museum of Modern Art, Fort Tilden’s military chapel—which was damaged by Sandy and is now being restored—will showcase one of the highlights from the MoMA collection: The Forty Piece Motet by Janet Cardiff, a spatialized adaptation of a sacred 16th-century motet created by recording each member of a choir individually and giving each voice its own speaker.
The final component of the festival is a group exhibition organized in collaboration with the Honolulu Biennial on the grounds of the newly restored Rockaway Beach Surf Club on Beach 87th Street in Rockaway Beach. Following Hurricane Sandy, the Surf Club was the one of the largest relief centers on the peninsula; their organization facilitated and directed over 5,000 volunteers, with major contributions from MoMA PS1. The exhibition celebrates the efforts of the Rockaway community of surfers and artists in rebuilding their neighborhood. Artists include: Marina Abromovic, Doug Aitken, Nanu Al-Hamad, Uri Aran, Kevin Beasley, Neil Beloufa, Anna Betbeze, Huma Bhabha, Carol Bove, Lizzi Bougatsos, Pete Brady, Olaf Breuning, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Loreto Caceres, Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda, James Clar, Shezad Dawood, Rodney Dickson, Brandon d’Leo, Thomas Dozol, Zackary Drucker, Olafur Eliasson, Roe Ethridge, James Ferraro, Fred Fleischer, Ryan Foerster, Shingo Francis, Asha Fuller, Daniel Gordon, Hugh Hayden, Mike Haff, Rachel Harrison, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, Camille Henrot, Jonathan Horowitz, Matt Hoyt, Donna Huanca, Jibade-Khalil Huffman, Alex Israel, JPW3, Justin Jay, Gavin Kenyon, Caitlin Keogh, Terence Koh, Andrei Koschmieder, Ajay Kurian, Sadie Laska, Margaret Lee, Dominik Lejman, Jason Bailer Losh, narcissister, Sally Lundburg and Keith Tallet, Nancy Lupo, Marcos Lutyens, Gloria Maximo, Ryan McNamara, Cindy Meyers, John Miller, Tracey Moffatt, Marlie Mul, Georgie Nettell, Adrienne Pao, Beth Perkins, Elizabeth Peyton, Adam Putnam, Ugo Rondinone, Aura Rosenberg, Carly Ruggieri, Nigel Scott, Gregory Siff, Tom Sachs, Laurie Simmons, Xaviera Simmons, Keone Singlehurst, Michael Stipe, Stewart Uoo, Allyson Vieira, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Chai Siris, Saya Woolfalk, Amy Yao
Exhibits at Fort Tilden are open to the public free of charge on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Noon–6 PM. The Surf Club exhibit is also open to the public free of charge Monday–Friday, Noon–Midnight; Saturday–Sunday, 11 AM–Midnight. The Forty Piece Motet by Janet Cardiff will be open through August 17 only.
Rockaway Artists Alliance
Since 1995 Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA) has brought innovative art exhibitions, cultural events, and high-quality art education programs to the Rockaway peninsula. RAA’s facilities—sTudio 6, sTudio 7, and Building T-149—are nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay in Gateway National Recreation Area’s historic Fort Tilden. RAA brings children, adults, and seniors to the Fort for interactive programs—like Rockaway!—lectures, demonstrations, and musical performances.
The National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) operates more than 400 parks and historic sites nationwide, including Gateway National Recreation Area—which contains Fort Tilden—established in 1972 as America’s first urban national park. In 2012, NPS and the City of New York forged an unprecedented partnership to restore and revitalize 10,000 acres of unique parklands surrounding Jamaica Bay. Rockaway!, a direct outgrowth of that collaboration, seeks to attract and engage new visitors to these amazing waterfront parks.
Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy
The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) is a public-private partnership established in 2013 that is dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway Peninsula for local residents and visitors alike. With its partners at the National Park Service and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, JBRPC works to expand public access; increase recreational and educational opportunities; foster citizen stewardship and volunteerism; preserve and restore natural areas, including wetland and wildlife habitat; enhance cultural resources; and ensure the long-term sustainability of the parklands, including the development of the Science and Resilience Institute.
Rockaway Beach Surf Club
Rockaway Beach Surf Club is a cultural event space, restaurant, and bar devoted to promoting the love of surfing, conserving the environment, and supporting its local neighborhood. Unique to Rockaway Beach is the convergence of surf and urban culture. Our mission is to inspire the community and its residents through surfing and to be a fun and positive destination for visitors to the peninsula. In 2012, Rockaway Beach Surf Club led the on-ground recovery efforts following Hurricane Sandy, and it will continue to be a leader in the community through nonprofit endeavors.
The Honolulu Biennial, founded by Hawai’i-born international curators Dr. KJ Baysa and Isabella Ellaheh Hughes, marks Hawaii’s first entry into the global biennial circuit, focusing on art from Oceania, the Asian continent, and the Americas with its preview event: The Chain of Fire – Introducing the Honolulu Biennial 2014. Officially launching in 2016, the Biennial will present groundbreaking international contemporary art, in addition to highlighting Hawaii’s notable, but under-recognized contributions by its communities and individuals to global arts and culture on the international stage. In addition, the Biennial will highlight Honolulu as a fresh destination for international and national arts and cultural tourists, fostering a cultural awakening and positioning of Honolulu as central to the Pacific-wide growth of arts, technology, and commerce.
New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
NYC Parks is the steward of nearly 30,000 acres of land─14 percent of New York City. These holdings include some 3,000 acres within the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks, including Rockaway Beach, the iconic urban getaway recently rediscovered by a new generation of surfers and beach lovers. NYC Parks launched its Art in the Parks program in 1967 and now oversees more than 800 permanent monuments and dozens of temporary artworks each year and, through its collaboration with the National Park Service on the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks, provided additional support for Rockaway!
Rockaway! is presented by the Rockaway Artists Alliance and MoMA PS1, the National Park Service, the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, and the Honolulu Biennial.