Heaven: Public View, Private View

Oct 29, 1997–Feb 1, 1998


In another challenge to traditional curatorial practice, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center features Heaven: Public View, Private View a group show comprised of two sections (Heaven — Private View and Heaven — Public View) that investigates the idea of heaven in relation to images that invoke qualities of transcendence, temporality and spirituality in an age of ambivalence. Heaven reflects a diversity of approaches to this alternately sacred and mundane theme: how can we bring into visual presence that which we cannot verify? How do we think about the symbolic and/or “real” presence of heaven today?

Heaven — Private View is installed in the public arena of P.S.1’s new cafe/bookstore, fusing a unique gallery installation within the framework of a leisure space. Private View includes over one hundred artists from the United States, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, South America and Asia, such as Franz Ackermann, Vanessa Beecroft, Candice Breitz, Vija Celmins, Taro Chiezo, Mat Collishaw, Thomas Demand, Mark Dion, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Henrik Hakansson, Joachim Koester, Mary Kelly, Sharon Lockhart, Matt Mullican, Novaphorm, Raymond Pettibon, Liisa Roberts, Nedko Solakov, Georgina Starr, Inez van Lamsweerde, Sergio Vega and James Welling.

These and other artists contributed individual works in slide form which are displayed in slide viewers suspended from the ceiling of P.S.1’s cafe/bookstore, in a hybrid of a unique presentational approach and an information/leisure space. Visitors are invited to lounge in the cafe on the ottomans designed by German artist Tobias Rehberger or the furniture designed by Dakota Jackson, reach to the ceiling and experience a fragment of heaven within the private realm of a standard hand-held slide viewer.

In a special intersection of historical and contemporary practices, Heaven — Public View includes a video installation by Douglas Blau, a slide projection work by Marcel Broodthaers, a video by Noritoshi Hirakawa, an interactive 16mm film and painting installation by actor/director Dennis Hopper, and a theater installation with hologram by performance collective Mabou Mines. The selected works are diverse and may be interpreted on many levels, but all offer a chance to reflect upon conditions of the spiritual (or the post—spiritual). Alternately secular and religious, the works explore the symbolic and abstract qualities of light and projection, and speak in the only way possible in the late modern period — indirectly, obliquely, with understated humor.

Heaven: Public View, Private View has been organized by Joshua Decter, Alanna Heiss and Jean-Michel Ribettes.



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