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On Wednesday, March 13, Youth Insights Artists took their first field trip, to The New Museum of Contemporary Art. We visited an exhibition called NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star. The exhibition focused on the early 1990s and significant changes in art, pop culture, and politics that were taking place then. It also centered on economic and social conflicts such as gay rights, AIDS, and health care, just to name a few.
At the New Museum, we split up into groups of two, exploring the exhibition and answering questions about certain artists and the message behind their work. We also expressed our opinion of the works we thought were interesting. The fourth floor in particular was intriguing to me. A big soft orange carpet covered the entire gallery floor. Two walls were printed from the floor to ceiling with photographic murals: Travel #1 (1993) and Travel #2 (1993) by Felix Gonzales Torres and Untitled (1993), a long line of light bulbs by the same artist hung in the center from the ceiling and reached the orange carpet below. A sound piece entitled Sail on Sailor (1993) by Kristin Oppenheim could be heard throughout the gallery. Untitled (1991), the big orange carpet installation by Rudolf Stingel, gave off a child-like vibe with its bright color, soft texture, and interactive qualities—people stood, sat, and lay on it throughout the gallery. The combination of the dark walls, eerie music, and fun qualities of Stingel’s work communicated such a weird, whimsical dark feeling. That to me was very innovative because I had never felt anything like it before.
We also visited an installation called Amazing Grace (1993) by Nari Ward. The gallery was dim and I could see a bunch of broken, dirty, baby carriages placed around a walkway made out of old fire hoses, like the carriages were the audience and the fire hoses were a runway. Visitors could walk on that runway through the circle of strollers. It looked stable, but when I actually walked on it, it was not so stable. In the background the song Amazing Grace was playing as well. The piece made me think of children who might have passed away. I automatically thought about depression in urban neighborhoods at the time and how that might take a toll on neighborhoods in a city―poverty, excessive drug use, and violence. In all, I was very impressed with the museum and I was moved by many of the artworks. I really enjoyed hearing other people’s opinions and viewing artists’ interpretations of the issues and conflicts during the early 1990s.
By Daecery, Youth Insights Artist