MoMA PS1 Opens Temporary Art Space in the Rockaways

By Jeanmarie Evelly on April 2, 2013 7:12am 

ROCKAWAYS — MoMA PS1 has opened a temporary cultural center in the Rockaways, celebrating the new site with a performance by rock legend Patti Smith, who owns a home on the peninsula.

The VW Dome 2, as the spherical structure is called, will be up for the next month in a parking lot between Beach 94th and Beach 95th streets. The space will host a series of lectures, film screenings and other events, serving as an arts hub for the Rockaways as the area continues to recover from Hurricane Sandy.

The project is part of a large exhibit coming to the Long Island City museum this May called "EXPO 1: New York," which explores various themes around climate change, waterfront sustainability and the environment.

On Tuesday, PS1 will host an "Open Camera Session," inside the dome, setting up a video camera to record residents' suggestions for rebuilding the neighborhood — part of a public solicitation for sustainable waterfront design ideas the museum launched this winter.

In February, PS1 had called for video submissions from designers, artists and architects who had ideas for rebuilding the city's coastal communities. They added the camera sessions at the Dome to get more Rockaways residents involved in the discussion.

"I think it's great," said Kevin Boyle, editor of the Rockaways' community newspaper The Wave, who will be manning the camera inside the Dome along with the paper's columnist Rick Horan.

"They've done a pretty good job of reaching out to the locals here."

Boyle said they already recorded ideas from a number of residents who sat down in front of the camera this weekend.

"The ideas are all over the place, which is fun," he said. "It was a steady flow."

He said many of the suggestions so far include ideas for rebuilding the Rockaways' beloved boardwalk —a topic The Wave has published editorials on, the most recent urging the city not to rush the plans but to consider what would benefit the whole peninsula.

 Musician Patti Smith performs at the opening celebration of MoMA PS1’s VW Dome 2 in the Rockaways on March 30, 2013. Throughout April, the space will serve as a temporary art and cultural center for the peninsula, which is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.
Musician Patti Smith performs at the opening celebration of MoMA PS1’s VW Dome 2 in the Rockaways on March 30, 2013. Throughout April, the space will serve as a temporary art and cultural center for the peninsula, which is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.
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Photo by Charles Roussel

"We're proponents of making it great — not just functional," Boyle said.

A panel of judges will select the top 25 proposals submitted to the MoMA PS1 open call, and the winners will be presented in a series of lectures at the Dome later this month, an effort to kickstart a public debate about the next steps in the rebuilding process.

"The city doesn't have to listen to them, but they should," Boyle said.

The Wave and MoMA PS1's Open Camera Session will take place on Tuesday, April 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the VW Dome 2, Beach 94th Street.

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