Centering on the year 1993, the exhibition is conceived as a time capsule, an experiment in collective memory that attempts to capture a specific moment at the intersection of art, pop culture, and politics.
The social and economic landscape of the early ’90s was a cultural turning point both nationally and globally. Conflict in Europe, attempts at peace in the Middle East, the AIDS crisis, national debates on health care, gun control, and gay rights, and caustic partisan politics served as both the background and source material for a number of younger artists who first came to prominence in 1993. At the same time, an increasingly active international network of artists, curators, and dealers contributed to a burgeoning global art world, amplified by the nascent tools of digital information. Twenty years later, it is time to reconsider the events, debates, and histories that prompted dramatic changes in art and culture. The Clinton inauguration, the first World Trade Center bombing, the Waco siege, and the March on Washington for Gay, Lesbian, and Bi Rights and Liberation, and other flash point events all shaped new discussions about social progress and political action. With this backdrop, young artists from New York made their mark in major international exhibitions and artists from Los Angeles, Britain, Italy, and Germany debuted in New York and provided a new texture to an already dynamic scene.
“NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” draws its subtitle from the eponymous album that the New York rock band Sonic Youth recorded in 1993 and captures the complex exchange between mainstream and underground culture across disciplines, which came to define the art of the era. The New Museum’s exhibition will include a number of historical reconstructions of important installations and exhibitions from 1993, while other works will be revisited and reinterpreted from the vantage point of today—highlighting the ways in which certain actions, events, attitudes, and emotions reverberate towards the present. These works will sketch out the complex intersection between art and the world at large that defined the 1990s and continues to shape artistic expression today.
The exhibition will span all five gallery floors of the New Museum and will also feature an installation of Nari Ward’s iconic work Amazing Grace in the Museum’s Studio 231 space (January 16–April 21, 2013). The project was originally realized in 1993 in an abandoned fire station in Harlem. The exhibition will also feature reconstructions of major works by Félix Gonzaléz-Torres, Jason Rhoades, and other artists. Works by artists including Gabriel Orozco, Byron Kim, and Julia Scher, among others connect back to the New Museum’s own exhibition history and address issues like globalism, new technology, and identity politics prevalent at the time. Other artists presented include: Ida Applebroog, Art Club 2000, Alex Bag, Matthew Barney, Kathe Burkhart, John Currin, Coco Fusco, Robert Gober, Nan Goldin, Félix González-Torres, Ann Hamilton, David Hammons, On Kawara, Byron Kim, Alix Lambert, Sean Landers, Sarah Lucas, Paul McCarthy, Suzanne McClelland, Gabriel Orozco, Pepón Osorio, Elizabeth Peyton, Steven Pippin, Charles Ray, Jason Rhoades, Julia Scher, Andres Serrano, Cindy Sherman, Rudolf Stingel, Wolfgang Tillmans, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Nari Ward, Hannah Wilke, Jack Whitten, and several others.
The exhibition will include a fully illustrated catalogue with key historical texts and reflections by younger curators and writers on the impact of this pivotal moment in American culture.