Rockaway! 2018: Daffodil garden by Yayoi Kusama

MoMA PS1 presents Yayoi Kusamas (Japan, born 1929) site-specific installation by Narcissus Garden (1966-present) as the third iteration of Rockaway !, a free public arts festival organized with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service and Bloomberg Philanthropies at the Gateway National Recreation Area in Fort Tilden. Narcissus Garden is made up of 1,500 mirrored stainless steel balls and can be seen in a former railroad garage that dates back to when Fort Tilden was an active US military base. The mirrored metal surfaces reflect the industrial environment of the now-abandoned building and draw attention to the history of Fort Tilden as well as the devastating damage that Hurricane Sandy caused to many buildings in the area in 2012.

Narcissus Garden was first presented in 1966 when Kusama staged an unofficial installation and performance at the 33rd Venice Biennale. The silver spheres, originally made of plastic, were installed on the lawn in front of the Italian pavilion and reflect the landscape of the exhibition center. Kusama himself stood between them, barefoot and dressed in a gold kimono, next to courtyard signs with the words “Narcissus Garden, Kusama” and “Your Narcissism for Sale”. During the exhibition’s opening day, Kusama stayed in the installation, tossed the balls in the air and offered to sell them to visitors for 1,200 lire (about US $ 2) each. The action, seen as both self-promotion and criticism of the commercialization of contemporary art, would later be seen as a pivotal moment in Kusama’s career as it shifted from installation to the radical, politically charged public performances that took center stage her work in New York City in the late 1960s.

The performances after the first presentation of Narcissus Garden became more and more elaborate and regularly took in several participants. Kusama often hosted these events in or near New York parks and cultural landmarks, including the Body Festival (1967) in Tompkins Square Park and Washington Square Park, the Love In Festival (1968), and the Bust Out Happening (1969) in Central Park and Grand Orgy to Awaken the Dead (1968) in the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art. Since then, iterations of Narcissus Garden have been presented worldwide.

The installation by Narcissus Garden is accompanied by an exhibition in the neighboring Rockaway Artist Alliance Gallery, which shows the history of Rockaway! and the ongoing work of the Rockaway Artist Alliance.

Rockaway! is a celebration of the Rockaway Peninsula’s continued recovery from the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, organized in partnership with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service. Rockaway! 2018 is a continuation of the ongoing collaborative programming of MoMA PS1 with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, which began working on rescue operations in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and continued with the VW Dome 2 in 2013; Rockaway! in summer 2014 with solo projects by Patti Smith, Adrián Villar Rojas and Janet Cardiff as well as a group exhibition at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club; and the second edition of Rockaway! in 2016 with a site-specific outdoor installation by Katharina Grosse.

Opening times and admission
Free of charge and open to the public Friday to Sunday 12: 00–6: 00 pm and on July 4 (Independence Day) and September 3 (Labor Day), 12: 00–6: 00 pm

Fort Tilden (169 State Road) can be reached by the Q22 and Q35 buses, the A train / shuttle to 116th Street, the NYC Ferry from Wall Street / Pier 11 (from Manhattan) or the Brooklyn Army Terminal (from Brooklyn) and accessible by bike. Parking is available in the adjacent Riis Park or on site by requesting temporary approval from an RAA representative at the main switch of sTudio7.

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