Skip to content

A sprawling exhibit of New York's most vital new talent may well be a blueprint for the art world's future. 

The marriage of New York City's edgy P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and the Museum of Modern Art recently produced its firstborn, which entered the art world kicking and screaming. The rowdy, attention-getting Greater New York exhibition, at P.S. 1 through May 16, is a showcase of more than 140 local artists who have emerged as significant voices within the past five years. Think Whitney Biennial, but bigger, a little rough around the edges, and defiantly New York–centric. The brainchild of P.S. 1 director Alanna Heiss and MoMA director Glenn Lowry, Greater New York was assembled in just a few months by curatorial teams from both institutions who combed through 2000 artists' slides. "It was a very romantic idea," says Heiss of the open call for work. "We wanted to send the strongest signal that we were looking at art being made right now and that anybody could be considered." The only criteria were that the artists had to be from the New York area and not have had a solo exhibition before 1995. The result is a show that encompasses talent ranging from the relatively well known (painter Cecily Brown, video artist Shirin Neshat) to the relatively unknown (installation artist Do-Ho Suh, painter and performance artist Cynthia Underwood). Almost 40 percent of the artists are women, and a good third are foreign-born, underscoring the changing demographic of the New York art scene. Says Underwood, whose contribution involved reciting a "word sculpture" while painting a beat-up Saab, "This show is perfect for me as I love performing in this experimental environment. At P.S.1 there is definitely raw adrenaline."—Catherine Hong

One week before the opening, 104 of the show's 146 artists assembled in the courtyard of P.S.1 in  Long Island City, NY,  for a group photo.