empathy

That Was Soooo Twenty Years Ago…

Time travel may not exist yet, but if there’s a way to transport yourself to another era, it’s through art. And we all know there’s no better destination than the 90s, so buckle up and get your plaid shirts and skateboards ready––The New Museum’s “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” will rock your Michael Jordons, plain white Hanes brand briefs and socks right off!

Like God, Chuck Norris & Air––The 90s Are Omnipresent

Everything in this exhibit from floor to ceiling is literally extracted from scenes of the 90s and was created exclusively in 1993; one of the installations even features a hideously orange rug that covers the entire floor. As you sink your feet into its soft, orange plush, and recall the scent of your grandparents’ house, you can thank Rudolf Stingel for preserving this critical part of history.

Additionally, the exhibit is complete with every aspect of the 90s, not just pop art and the remnants of its cool, subversive movements. From prison windows to fashion and home economy, this exhibit investigates the raw, debased reality that the 90s began to expose through a “take no prisoners” attitude. And both the originality and creativity employed in much of the artwork gives many of these pieces an extra edge when giving the finger to “the man.”

Other pieces present an open and honest interpretation of the early 90s in New York from very specific viewpoints: life as a struggling artist (Sean Landers), as an immigrant (Pepon Osorio) and as a homosexual male living with AIDS (Gregg Bordowitz). Yet through its various lenses, this exhibit, more than anything, expresses the anger which our generation has harbored for the irreversible aberration of the American dream, and our inability to cohabitate its desires with our own.

The Power and Influence of the 90s

I particularly enjoyed this exhibit because I was too young to really participate in the 90s. I mean, I was only five years old in 1993. But on top of that, I was stuck in a kindergarten prison in what has been unanimously voted as the world’s worst city :Houston, Texas.

Therefore, I missed out on the true force of the 90s in multiple ways––first, I was far too young to experience the counter-cultural elements of punky angst and rebellion that took place across the country (unless you count my bitchin’ finger paintings and habit of sleeping through class, although I guess they call that “nap time” when you’re five); second, I was in the wrong city (so much so that 1993 in Houston felt more like 1893). So for those of us who have nostalgic flashbacks to a decade we barely knew, this exhibit is a perfect reintroduction to the modern day avante garde, the birth of street skateboarding and irony.

  • The New Museum – “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star” – February 13, 2013 – May 26, 2013 – Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 11AM – 6PM; Thursday: 11AM–9PM  [Tickets: $14/$10 discount] 

Article by Eric Rydin