P.S.1 Promises a Smaller, Saner Greater New York

P.S.1 Promises a Smaller, Saner Greater New York

Mere months after the Whitney Biennial served up its signature mix of respected veterans and young-and-trendy artists-to-watch, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center is about to follow suit with Greater New York 2010, the third edition of the omnium gatherum exhibition that is intended to capture what is taking place in the Big Apple's art world in all its variety. This year, the show — overseen by P.S.1 director Klaus Biesenbach, Museum of Modern Art drawings curator Connie Butler, and P.S.1 curatorial adviser Neville Wakefield — will feature about 68 artists from the (loosely-defined) metropolitan area, a steep drop-off from the 160 artists in the 2005 edition that hopefully will add focus to the notoriously sprawling show.

All the art included in the exhibition will have been made during the past five years, providing both a mirror and a time capsule of the city's artistic practice across all mediums over that time. According to the press release, the show will center "largely on the process of creation and the generative nature of the artist's studio" — suggesting a human-scaled, interior-looking event, in keeping with the institution's indie history (at least until 2000, when it merged with the Museum of Modern Art). Some artists have been commissioned use P.S.1 itself as their studio, making pieces on site and rehearsing pieces of performance art — an artistic genre that will be substantially represented in the 2010 show, no doubt due to the interest of Biesenbach, who has made performance the core of his work as a MoMA curator.

 

To help with this pared-down but still expansive show, P.S.1 has called in some outside help. In the basement, the Brooklyn-based Light Industry will run a "cinema" to screen film works, and a "rotating gallery" will be established on the first floor for a series of temporary shows throughout Greater New York's run that will be curated by Clarissa Dalrymple, Cecilia Alemani, Kate Fowle, and Olivia Shao.

As for the artists themselves, the group announced thus far is a brambly, wide-ranging bunch. At least six were featured in the Whitney Biennial, which is bound to cause some grumbling (and citations of overexposure); one, the astonishing video artist Guido van der Werve, can only be considered a denizen of the greater New York region if that can be said to include Finland; another group, the Delusional Downtown Divas, were the presenters at the Guggenheim's Hollywood-style First Annual Art Awards last year. Nestled among the 68, however, are a few underexposed rising artists to get excited about, such as LaToya Ruby Frazier, Liz Magic Laser, and Amir Mogharabi, and a few handfuls of talents who will be unknown even to most art-world professionals. While the temptation to rate the show against the Whitney Biennial will be strong, the show promises to stand apart from its more storied precursor if only for that reason.