- Gateway National Recreation Area at Fort Tilden, New York
Free and open to the public Friday through Sunday, 12:00–6:00 p.m., and on September 3 (Labor Day), 12:00–6:00 p.m.
MoMA PS1 presents Yayoi Kusama’s (Japan, b. 1929) site-specific installation of Narcissus Garden (1966–present) as the third iteration of Rockaway!, a free public art festival presented with Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and Bloomberg Philanthropies in the Gateway National Recreation Area at Fort Tilden. Comprised of 1,500 mirrored stainless steel spheres, Narcissus Garden is on view in a former train garage that dates to the time when Fort Tilden was an active US military base. The mirrored metal surfaces reflect the industrial surroundings of the now-abandoned building, drawing attention to Fort Tilden’s history as well as the devastating damage inflicted on many buildings in the area by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Narcissus Garden was first presented in 1966, when Kusama staged an unofficial installation and performance at the 33rd Venice Biennale. The silver spheres, originally made from plastic, were installed on the lawn in front of the Italian Pavilion, reflecting the landscape of the exhibition grounds. Kusama herself stood among them, barefoot and dressed in a gold kimono, alongside yard signs inscribed with the words “Narcissus Garden, Kusama” and “Your Narcissism for Sale.” Throughout the opening day of the exhibition, Kusama remained in the installation, tossing the spheres in the air and offering to sell them to visitors for 1,200 lire (approximately $2) each. The action, which was viewed both as self-promotion and a critique on the commercialization of contemporary art, would later be seen as a pivotal moment in Kusama’s career as she transitioned from installation toward the radical, politically charged public performances that would be the focus of her work in the late 1960s in New York City.
The performances that followed the first presentation of Narcissus Garden became increasingly more elaborate and regularly involved multiple participants. Kusama often staged these happenings in or near New York City parks and cultural landmarks, including Body Festival (1967) in Tompkins Square Park and Washington Square Park, Love In Festival (1968) and Bust Out Happening (1969) in Central Park, and Grand Orgy to Awaken the Dead (1968) in the sculpture garden of The Museum of Modern Art. Iterations of Narcissus Garden have since been presented worldwide.
The installation of Narcissus Garden is accompanied by an exhibition in the neighboring Rockaway Artist Alliance gallery that charts the history of Rockaway! and the ongoing work of the Rockaway Artist Alliance.
Rockaway! is a celebration of the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway Peninsula following the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, organized in collaboration with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service. Rockaway! 2018 is a continuation of MoMA PS1’s ongoing collaborative programming alongside the Rockaway Artists Alliance that began with collaborating on rescue efforts immediately following Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and continued with the VW Dome 2 in 2013; Rockaway! in summer 2014, which featured solo projects by Patti Smith, Adrián Villar Rojas, and Janet Cardiff, as well as a group show at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club; and the second iteration of Rockaway!, in 2016, featuring a site-specific outdoor installation by Katharina Grosse.
Hours and Admission
Free and open to the public Friday through Sunday, 12:00–6:00 p.m., and on July 4 (Independence Day) and September 3 (Labor Day), 12:00–6:00 p.m.
Fort Tilden (169 State Road) is accessible by the Q22 and Q35 buses, the A train/shuttle to 116th St, via NYC Ferry from Wall Street/Pier 11 (from Manhattan) or Brooklyn Army Terminal (from Brooklyn), and via bicycle. Parking is available at adjacent Riis Park, or on-site by requesting a temporary permit from an RAA representative at the sTudio7 main desk.
See the exact location of Rockaway! 2018 in Google maps.
Rockaway! 2018 is presented by MoMA PS1 with Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.
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.
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.
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.
Rockaway! is made possible through the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies and The Secunda Family Foundation.