MOS Afterparty at PS1

MOS Afterparty at PS1

I went to PS1 last weekend to explore the MOS Afterparty architecture exhibit that won the MoMA/PS1 Young Architects Program this year.  With a budget of $70,000, the contestants were to incorporate shade, water and seating as components in their projects.  The mammoth design, resembling a relative of a known “woolly” animal is on display in the front courtyard/exhibition space.  It consists of multiple teepee-esqe, hut-like structures of different sizes with the tops leveled off, allowing the sun to penetrate the display, while keeping the covered areas shaded. A metal framework, covered by a mesh overlay and a layer of what seems to be hair, connects the different conical elements to create one structure.  The skin of the shelter, which I referred to as hair, is actually a dark, thatched textile said to create its own microclimate and protect from the hot summer sun.  A series of “cooling chimneys” incorporated into the structure, as well as the exisitng concrete walls of the gallery further employ shade and cooling. As I approached the exhibit, I was shocked at first by the hair.  As I meandered through, however, I embraced the experience as a grand space which enables the viewer through the  focus on the cast shadows through the each opening above.  Furthermore, the climate control, which was a large part of the program requirements is very apparent. The space was used  for a music series this summer and what an interesting venue that would have been. I am sorry to have missed it.  The exhibit will be open until October 26.

As I think further about what this exhibition means for the future, “art as space” comes to mind. The tent-like structure itself, ironically, is reminiscent of a somewhat primitive lifestyle, but being able to walk through an exhibit of this size, interact with it and observe it as a habitat, speaks toward the future.  This “urban shelter” as the designers refer to their project, is an interactive environment on display.



2 responses to “Afterparty

  1. I see this as an example of vitality generated through collaboration. As soon as you take on a creative partner to develop and realize a project, you’re making your museum part of the debate. You’re showing your constituency how current, dynamic, flexible and engaged you are. If it’s a temporary space your visitors can occupy, even better. They’ll feel more connected. Beyond PS.1, a few contemporary art galleries have been successful with this sort of project, notably London’s Serpentine Gallery, which commissions a temporary pavilion each year. If I’m not mistake, the Cooper-Hewitt has done this in the past, too (and I’m not talking about the trailers…).
    I think we should all be taking a look over at PS.1’s programming, though. It’s fun and engaging, and I don’t think it would be impossible to adapt some of their ideas to other, non- contemporary art museums.

  2. If anyone does make it to PS1, be sure to check out Leandro Erlich’s “Swimming Pool”, another temporary environment installed in the double-floor exhibition space. Setup to warp the viewers grasp of physics and balance, it looks like an ordinary pool at first glance…until you step a little bit closer.
    I’d like to install one in my house with an aquarium underneath the plexiglass. Then you can swim with the fish every day.

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