6. Head to PS1’s Outdoor Courtyard for an experiment in creative ecologies

La Femme et L'oiseau fontaine and The Stories of the Past Rejoice through Children's Skies, Photo by Marissa Alper, Courtesy of  MoMA PS1.
La Femme et L’oiseau fontaine and The Stories of the Past Rejoice through Children’s Skies, Photo by Marissa Alper, Courtesy of MoMA PS1.

For those visiting the Hunters Point area of Queens this summer, MoMA’s PS1 outdoor courtyard will feature an experiment in creative ecologies. As a leading space within the neighborhood’s community, the new installation will reimagine the use and access of the PS1 courtyard. It will feature Rashid Johnson’s Stage, a participatory installation and sound work, which draws on the history of the microphone as a tool of protest and public oratory. It will feature a yellow powder-coated stage, with Johnson’s signature markings engraved onto it, and five SM58 microphones of varying heights. Stage’s design echoes that of other unofficial sites of public intellectual and cultural life like Harlem’s 135th Street and Lenox Avenue. Visitors will have the opportunity to speak to the public on the stage, with their words being recorded and broadcasted in the courtyard. In addition, the stage will feature a number of performances from artists, activists, poets, and musicians.

Besides Stage, the PS1 outdoor courtyard will also host a series of Thought Collectives that test out new and creative propositions for the future usage of public spaces. One of these collectives will be Niki de Saint Phalle‘s 1967 sculpture La Femme et L’oiseau fontaine, part of a survey of Saint Phalle’s work Structures for Life on display through September 6th, 2021. The sculpture serves as a perfect example of the artist’s early Nana sculptures, which served as monuments of female empowerment and symbols of the growing movement to move the display of artwork outside the confines of indoor art gallery’s. Finally, along the wall surrounding Saint Phalle’s sculpture will be Raul de Nieves’ 2021 installation, The Stories of the Past Rejoice through Children’s Skies. The installation was influenced by Mexican craft traditions, with its structure resembling that of stained glass windows — forcing its viewers into a church-like space of reflection.