January 19, 2010  |  Rising Currents
From a Grand Finale to the Next Phase

Open House presentations at P.S.1 on January 9, 2010

With a grand finale—attendees filled the room and spilled out into the hall—the five teams presented their final designs to the public at P.S.1 on January 9. As the teams now begin producing materials for the upcoming exhibition at MoMA (and the MoMA team begins preparing the space and the explanatory glue around the project), Rising Currents enters a new phase. Over the next few weeks a number of expert guest bloggers will add their perspectives on an experiment that challenges both the city as we have inherited it and the format of an architectural exhibition in an art museum. The quality of design, innovation, and intense teamwork that has characterized the last two months at P.S.1 has been nothing short of remarkable. The level of interest from city, state, and federal officials has been deeply encouraging and the surge of interest from the public has been spectacular. This week a jury will convene at P.S.1 to pick the finalists for the eleventh annual Young Architects Program (YAP). YAP is an integral part of our department’s programming and while the Rising Currents project is similar in some ways, it is worth noting that it is a true innovation for MoMA and P.S.1, and we believe in some respects, for architecture museums in general.

The Rising Currents project is an entirely different model with different selection criteria for participation: the five teams were not chosen on the basis of a design, but rather on the basis of a promise for interdisciplinary innovation, working on problems that are global in implication but local in application and design. The teams worked in a collaborative interchange rather than in competition with one another. In this case, the museum serves in an almost unprecedented way as the incubator for (rather than as the mirror of) new ideas. As a result, the project has been able to evolve at a rapid pace, with teams sharing their developing thoughts and designs each week. As a curator it is inevitably nerve-wracking to commit to an exhibition of work not yet actualized. However, if the last two months are any indication of future results, I am confident that the exhibition will surpass even our own expectations. With the now joined talents of over thirty team members and MoMA’s exhibition departments, we’re embarking on the next phase of the project.

Please continue to follow us here as we invite guests to offer their insights on the project in the coming weeks. Confirmed contributors include Catherine Seavitt, Principle, Catherine Seavitt Studio; Leslie Koch, President, Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation; Adrian Benepe, Commissioner, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation; Adam Freed, Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability; Lana Hum, Production Manager, MoMA Department of Exhibition Design and Production; Ingrid Chou, Assistant Director, MoMA Department of Graphic Design; and Joan K. Davidson, Chairman, Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Commission.