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Art June, 3 2013

A Recap of ‘EXPO 1: New York’ at The Museum of Modern Art

Taking place in three locations around New York City, EXPO: 1 New York explores the ecological challenges in the context of the economic and socio-political instability of the early 21st century. The concept was developed and carried out by MoMA PS1 Director and Chief Curator-at-Large Klaus Biesenbach with Hans Ulrich Obrist and an advisory group via a partnership between the MoMA, MoMA PS1 and Volkswagen of America.

“Dark Optimism,” located at MoMA PS1 and running from May 12 to September 2, focuses on both the seeming end of the world and its beginning. Approximately 35 artists, including Joseph Bueys and Olafur Eliasson, contemplate a world on the brink of apocalypse but also at the onset of unprecedented technological transformation. Eliasson’s piece, Your waste of time, presents massive pieces of ice that broke off from Iceland’s largest glacier, Vatnajökull, whose continued presence is made possible by refrigerating the gallery space to mantain a temperature below freezing.

Also included in “Dark Optimism” is a solo exhibition of 50 photographs by Ansel Adams.  A dedicated environmentalist and wilderness preservationist, Adams work depicted a land untouched by humans. His visionary exploration of Earth is just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago, particularly in light of recent natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy.

The second component of EXPO 1: New York takes place in Rockaway Beach at the VW Dome 2. Running from March 1 to June 30, the temporary geodesic dome serves as a center for culture, education and community. Everything from lectures and conversations to rotating art exhibitions and performances are held in the VW Dome 2.

The final component of the project takes place at The Museum of Modern Art and runs from May 12 to July 28. Entitled Rain Room, the exhibition is a large-scale environment by Random International. In it, a field of falling water pauses wherever a human body is detected, offering visitors the experience of controlling the rain. Through interacting with the project, visitors explore the roles that science, technology and human ingenuity can play in stabilizing our environment.

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