Tuesday, 24 February 2009

MoMA gets Mashed Up in Brooklyn

As Artinfo reports :

BROOKLYN—There was a strange buzzing in the Atlantic/Pacific Street subway station in Brooklyn late Saturday night. In addition to the usual chattering and whooping of partygoers, this reporter heard exclamations like “Yo! Did you see that Matisse?”

Since February 10, the massive, multi-level subway and rail station, Brooklyn’s largest, has been overtaken with art. As part of a recent “station domination” marketing campaign intended to reach out to local audiences, the Museum of Modern Art bought out every ad space in the entire station and installed some 58 reproductions of artworks from its collection. Instead of seeing ads for Target or the latest blockbuster film, bustling commuters have been taking in a Duchamp readymade; photos from August Sander and Cindy Sherman, and paintings by everyone from Cezanne to Mondrian to Lichtenstein to Wangechi Mutu.

But Saturday night, several of the artworks on display had undergone serious “editing” in the style of New York’s notorious street artist Poster Boy. The faces in Nan Goldin’s photo Nan and Brian in Bed had been replaced with those of Fred and Wilma Flintstone. A giant whale had been introduced into Andreas Gursky’s Ratingen Swimming Pool. And it was unclear whether the admirer of Matisse had been commenting on The Red Studio or The Swimming Pool, both on display, or on a convincingly Matissian motif resembling waves that had shown up on Monet's massively reproduced Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond.

While I was looking at this particular composition, I was approached by three or four young men carrying backpacks and pieces of paper and outfitted in white windbreakers bearing MoMA logos in the style of the pervasive ad campaign. “You like that?” one of them asked, and pointed to another guy. “He did it.”

I asked if they had been sent by MoMA, thinking maybe MoMA’s campaign was more forward-thinking than meets the eye; they said they hadn’t. I asked where they’d gotten the windbreakers; they said they “had friends at MoMA.” I asked who they were; they wouldn’t tell me.

When I went back to take pictures of the mash-ups Monday morning, most of the additions to the posters were gone, as were some entire images. The most striking evidence of what had transpired over the weekend were holes where some images had been removed.

Click here to see some of the manipulated work.


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