You probably didn’t hear about the huge exhibition opening last week at MoMA—it didn’t make the front page of The New York Times Arts or Style sections; no one was interviewed on NPR about it; no pictures of the artists appeared on Art Fag City. And yet it was definitely the place to be if you are interested in mingling with the freshest faces in contemporary art.
As with other MoMA openings, the space was packed, the walls were hung with conceptually rich works of art, inviting music played over the speakers, and a movie premiere was standing room only. There were subtly satirical videos that employ green-screen technology, interactive edible works of art, Fluxus-inspired action pieces, paintings that crept onto the walls, and architectural models that pushed the boundaries of conventional space and human interaction. All that was missing was a open bar, because this opening was for the teens in MoMA’s free art program, In the Making.
Amid the parents, educators, and the eager audience of friends, stood the artists of In the Making—sixty-eight teenagers from all five boroughs, representing every kind of schooling situation (public, private, alternative, GED, charter, home, etc.), and wearing every kind of fashion. For some, this was their first-ever art class, and they made incredibly thoughtful and personal works of art. Here are a few highlights:
Taking daily life in New York City as their subject matter, the Unconventional Painting class explored ideas of what is and what isn’t a painting, and who makes this decision. Students experimented with a range of materials and processes, pushing the boundaries of medium, surface, and process in unorthodox art-making activities.
“My art is about what people don’t see—what people choose to ignore, the things that go on in their own city, the world they don’t choose to live in.” —Jeynensys de la Cruz
Under Construction: Building Art
Inspired by MoMA’s exhibition Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront, and incorporating site visits to the High Line and the Brooklyn Bridge Park piers, this class aimed to increase students’ understanding of society’s relationship to landscape, nature, and environmentally conscious design. Students experimented with interweaving nature and architecture through hybrid collage, drawing, and modeling techniques.
“I learned that a building is much more than just a building. Especially in the city, people tend to overlook the beauty that surrounds them. But I want to show people the art of architecture. New York City is a gallery that’s always open, and a building is a painting that is always ready to be viewed.”—Erika Bramwell
It’s a Small World: Globalization and Art
Globalization and Art focused on the interrelatedness of place and experience, of the local and the global, the personal and the universal, exploring how these relationships feed artistic practice.
“Many times in my life I have questioned my identity. Therefore, when I create art, I try to find my identity. Who I am—as a woman, as a New Yorker, as a Korean, as an American? Through art, I excavate deep within myself and search for a more profound me.”—Kiryoon Byunn
Record/Play: Social and Political Video
Social and Political Video became a creative think tank for young artists to explore their own ideas through performing and video making. While investigating different modes of performative expression, the class questioned the very nature of acting, activism, improvisation, and character development.
“Am I an artist? I cannot tell you because I vow, from here forward, to verb without thought of the noun it makes me.” —Sarah Lurie
Find us on Facebook to see videos and get updates on the exhibition. Or stop by and see it yourself—the teens’ works will be on view until September 14 in the mezzanine gallery of The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, 4 West Fifty-fourth Street (near Fifth Avenue).