Featuring solo projects by Patti Smith, Adrián Villar Rojas, and Janet Cardiff as well as an international group show.
Rockaway!, a free public arts festival sponsored by the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy (JBRPC) to celebrate the reopening of Fort Tilden and recognize the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway peninsula, opens June 29 and continues through September 1, 2014.
Invited by the Rockaway Artists Alliance (RAA), an association of artists based in and around the Rockaways, and the JBRPC, MoMA PS1 has assisted and supported the conception of this festival. Hosted by the National Park Service (NPS), which owns and manages Fort Tilden, Rockaway! showcases the natural and historical beauty of Fort Tilden, in which RAA has had a public gallery for the past 19 years.
Rockaway! was conceived by MoMA PS1’s Director, Klaus Biesenbach, in close collaboration with Patti Smith. There will be an additional group show in the Rockaway Beach Surf Club, organized in collaboration with the Honolulu Biennial.
History of the Collaboration
MoMA PS1’s collaboration with RAA and the New York City Department of Parks &
Recreation (DPR) began with the VW Dome 2, a temporary cultural and community
center the museum constructed on Beach 95th Street in Rockaway Beach following the rescue and volunteer efforts the museum organized in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy. Operated through June 30, 2013, the VW Dome 2 was made possible by a long-term partnership with Volkswagen of America.
Given its work on the VW Dome 2, MoMA PS1 was in a unique position to facilitate a coordinated effort between the newly established JBRPC, a public-private partnership with NPS and DPR dedicated to improving the 10,000 acres of public parkland throughout Jamaica Bay and the Rockaway peninsula, and local artists and community groups in the Rockaways. Rockaway! is an encouraging example of the many collaborations that have developed through the challenging process of rebuilding the Rockaways.
The acclaimed international artist, writer, and musician Patti Smith—a Rockaway resident—conceived a large-scale installation, photography exhibition, and site-specific outdoor installation (The Resilience of the Dreamer) specially for Rockaway! Having witnessed personal belongings of Rockaway residents being destroyed and washed away during Sandy, Smith will install a gilded four-post bed with pure white linens in a long-abandoned building that lacks windows and parts of its roof. The bed will wear down physically, yet remain in place, a symbol of courage and resilience.
In the RAA galleries, an exhibition of photographs taken by Smith over the last several years focuses on objects that were dear to their owners: Robert Mapplethorpe’s slippers, Robert Graves's hat, Virginia Woolf’s bed, Frida Kahlo’s corset, and William Burroughs's bandana, among others. The adjoining gallery is dedicated to Walt Whitman and includes books of his poetry that visitors are invited to read. Smith has also placed five granite stones engraved with verses from Whitman’s poetry along the trails of Fort Tilden to mark the far ends of this scenic urban park on the ocean.
In addition, the Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas will present a selection of small sculptures made from unfired clay and straw, inspired by the nests of the tiny Argentinian birds known as horneros. Installed in several locations throughout Fort Tilden, these nests invite local birds to inhabit them, offering a temporary home in this beautiful and fragile environment. These nests—a number of which can be found along the impressive hills and former batteries—also highlight the military history of Fort Tilden, which was built to provide protection against a potential enemy invasion from the ocean.
Thanks to a loan from The Museum of Modern Art, Fort Tilden’s military chapel—which was damaged by Sandy and is now being restored—will showcase one of the highlights from the MoMA collection: The Forty Piece Motet by Janet Cardiff, a spatialized adaptation of a sacred 16th-century motet created by recording each member of a choir individually and giving each voice its own speaker.
The final component of the festival is a group exhibition organized in collaboration with the Honolulu Biennial on the grounds of the newly restored Rockaway Beach Surf Club on Beach 87th Street in Rockaway Beach. Following Hurricane Sandy, the Surf Club was the one of the largest relief centers on the peninsula; their organization facilitated and directed over 5,000 volunteers, with major contributions from MoMA PS1. The exhibition celebrates the efforts of the Rockaway community of surfers and artists in rebuilding their neighborhood. Artists include: Nanu Al-Hamad, Uri Aran, Davide Balula, Neil Beloufa, Anna Betbeze, Huma Bhabha, Carol Bove, Lizzi Bourgatsos, Olaf Breuning, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Jay Chung and Q Takeki Maeda, James Clar, Shezad Dawood, Rodney Dickson, Thomas Dozol, Zachary Drucker, Olafur Eliasson, James Ferraro, Fred Fleisher, Ryan Foerster, Shingo Francis, Daniel Gordon, Hugh Hayden, Rachel Harrison, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, Camille Henrot, Jonathan Horowitz, Donna Huanca, Khalil Huffman, Alex Israel, Gavin Kenyon, Caitlin Keogh, Andrei Koschmieder, Ajay Kurian, Sadie Laska, Margaret Lee, Dominik Lejman, Jason Losh, Isabelle Lumpkin, Nancy Lupo, Marcos Lutyens, Gloria Maximo, Ryan McNamara, John Miller, Tracey Moffatt, Marlie Mul, Georgie Nettell, Adrienne Pao, Elizabeth Peyton, Adam Putman, Ugo Rondinone, Aura Rosenberg, Tom Sachs, Laurie Simmons, Xaviera Simmons, Michael Stipe, Keith Tallet and Sally Lundberg, Stewart Uoo, Allyson Vierira, Patrick Walsh, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Chai Siris, Saya Woolfalk, and Amy Yao
Exhibits at Fort Tilden are open to the public free of charge on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, noon–6:00 p.m. The Surf Club exhibit is also open to the public free of charge Monday–Friday, noon–midnight; Saturday–Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–midnight. The Forty Piece Motet by Janet Cardiff will be open through August 17 only.
Fort Tilden (169 State Road) is accessible by the Q22 and Q35 buses, the A train/shuttle to 116th St. and weekend ferry service on the American Princess. Parking is available at adjacent Riis Park. The Rockaway Beach Surf Club (302 Beach 87th Street) is on the A train/shuttle to Beach 90th Street; bus service includes the Q22 and Q52. Parking is limited to on-street.