MoMA QNS: I should’ve written

MoMA QNS: I should’ve written yesterday about the Thursday night opening party for MoMA’s new building in Queens, but I didn’t get around to it. Except for the part where about 1,500 people had to stand in the middle of the street in a tremendous downpour, only to (eventually) be told by the Fire Marshall that there’s no way they’re getting in, it was great. (We led a group of 30-35 people under the elevated train until we reached a Romanian restaurant to sit out the rain. After 10:30, the party was not only great, it actually rocked.)
Went back again today, the first day it’s open to the public. There were 1.5 hour lines, trailing all the way down a block that probably had never seen such a crowd. Naturally, we walked right in the front door [a rare case of where my sense of entitlement is not wildly misplaced). The two standout features: Michael Maltzan’s work here is really great. Videos projected on the walls; both functional and ornamental ramps (perfect for parties and the ADA), and a very smart experience at the entrance to the galleries. So, of the last $90 million spent on contemporary architecture in NYC, $50 million was spent successfully (MoMA QNS) and $40 million was, well, whatever (Prada SoHo). [here is a little book published by MoMA about the new bldg.]

The other amazing thing: The literal frenzy of people picking up Felix Gonzalez-Torres posters. This stack sculpture by Gonzalez-Torres from the Walker Art Center collection has a rich, large black&white image of water. As is typical when his work is exhibited, your first encounter is long before you see the actual piece; you notice people walking around with giant posters rolled up and tucked under their arms. (I’d seen this in the pouring rain at the Thursday opening, and it didn’t register at first; if you’re going out for the evening, do you want to carry a giant poster around with you all night?)
In the gallery with the stack, there was bedlam. Seriously. You’d have thought people stood in line just for the poster. There was frantic activity everywhere as people sought out a wide enough space to roll up their poster. Some people teamed up–as if they were folding sheets together–to roll them up smoothly. The stack itself was in total disarray; people were standing on a stray sheet next to it. By the time we walked through the adjacent galleries and back, the stack was gone; only the wall label and two tape corners on the floor betrayed its presence. And, of course, the hundreds of people walking around with giant posters.
On the way out, an older woman (sort of an outer borough Sonia Rykiel) with a disheveled roll of several posters was hustling toward the door, while an irritated middle aged woman in a tank top called after her, “Do you have any posters?” Do you have an extra one?” “Do you have more than one?”