P.S.1 goes back to 1969

Swingeing London 67, Richard Hamilton

1969 was a big year; so big, in fact, that people like me, who weren’t alive at the time, have vicarious memories of what it was like. Things like Vietnam, Civil Rights, sexual revolution, and the moon landing spring to mind. To commemorate not only the year itself, but its lasting impact on artists today, P.S.1 has devoted its entire 2nd floor to what it meant to live in 1969. “By juxtaposing the meditative space of the white cube gallery of the transplanted MoMA exhibition with the tumult of the outside world, 1969 reflects the expansive concerns held by artists of the time” like Lee Friedlander, Gary Winogrand, Robert Irwin, Joseph Beuys, Robert Morris and Sol LeWitt, including brand new work from Bruce Nauman, Mel Bochner and Robert Barry.

Among the young artists who were asked to create pieces that comment on the mood of the time (or what they think of as the mood of the time) is the Bruce High Quality Foundation (BHQFU), who built a “suite of four portable museums concerned with preservation, education, dissemination, and archiving.” This could be a show all on its own, but it’s only one part of a massive exhibition. BHQFU is one the more interesting and undefinable collaborations out there right now. Yes, it’s a group of artists who get together and produce work, but they’re focus is on education in a time when art school is unaffordable for most people. “The $200,000-debt-model of art education is simply untenable. Further, the education artists are getting for their money is mired in irrelevance, pushing them into critical redundancy on the one hand and professional mediocrity on the other.” They offer courses like “Build Your Own University,” “Futurlogical Poetry,” “Occult Shenanigans,” and “BHQFU Detective Agency,” but these are, as you might expect, unaccredited. “Let’s just drop the bullshit altogether.” BHQFU aren’t ones to shy away from staging demonstrations and protests. Their recent film, ISLE OF THE DEAD, is about the literal death of an inflated art world that is born again as zombies who gather on Governor’s Island to watch the film, ISLE OF THE DEAD. More creative than a picket line, sure, but their motto, “Don’t say can’t, say canarchy” is straight out of 1969.