This morning, every art media outlet ever descended upon New Museum’s much-hyped “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” exhibit preview. Yes, like the Sonic Youth album. Sonic Youth is very 1993.
Attempting to seriously critique an exhibit like this somewhat echoes the challenges of curating it (except for the curating part): How does one express, encompass, emote that dramatic shift in culture, all things transgressive and digital that happened here in 1993? Uhhh… On one floor, there was this interplay between Gonzalez Torres’s light sculpture, Rudolf Stingel’s carpet and Kristin Oppenheimer’s haunting sailor song that was very immersive and moving. The rest was quite overwhelmingly packed together: Oh, look, Nan Goldin because remember AIDS? Look, Wolfgang Staehle’s The Thing, because holy shit there’s internet now and stuff. Larry Clark because he’s sexy. Wolfgang Tillmans because he’s sexy. Matthew Barney because he’s Matthew Barney.
Pegging it to 1993 makes it more of nostalgia-fest than a retrospective, but there’s great work here. It was an exciting time. So… Fuck it. Let’s go blogiggidy on this thing. Presenting: Three Hottest Artworks From the New Museum’s “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” Exhibit.
Cheryl Donegan, Head, 1993. It’s a single shot. It’s a blow job to a punctured plastic carton of gushing milk, with sucking, slurping, spitting…. the works. So, what do you want? A feminist treatise on how this possibly lampoons the forced ecstasy of the pornography culture? A vindication of the pure sensualism of “head” by reclaiming the enjoyment of performing oral sexual activity in a celebratory onanistic way? Or do you want to just look at this very attractive person guzzle milk to Sugar? Yeah, me too.
Sarah Lucas, The Old Couple, 1991. Oh man. You can’t miss this one. Some wooden chairs for you. A wax dildo for you. Some fake teeth. Because the aged need help. Help the aged. Also, they look like fucking machines. Not those fucking machines from the New Museum’s “Ghosts in the Machine” show but yeah, no, like, yeah, Fucking Machines [link NSFW]. The Amish version.
Charles Ray, Family Romance, 1992-3. HAHAHAHA TOTALLY KIDDING THIS ONE WAS HORRIBLE. Approaching them from the back, I thought I was about to see some Chapman bros (even though they’re English, I know, I know) but even cock-nosed vag-mouthed nude girls by Jake ‘n’ Dinos don’t nearly disturb one’s soul as this Charles Ray “family.” It’s like a Simpsons’s couch intro gone horribly, horribly wrong. Great, now we have a very realistic image of adult-sized children and child-sized adults and all their proportionally impossible bald and hairy genitalia in a neat little row, holding hands. Transgressive shit, man. Transgressive.
Anyway, there’s truly some amazing art in this exhibit. Go see it. Go. There’s this Karen Kilimnik video piece in the staircase that’s made with Heathers which is this fucked-up movie they’d never make today. Sigh. 1993 was so great, wasn’t it?
“NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star,” Various Artists, Feb 13 – May 26, New Museum, New York. (Photos: Marina Galperina/ANIMALNewYork)