Museums Can Be Fun
Claudia La Rocco has an article on Neal Medlyn at WNYC.
I ran into Claudia at Neal’s New Museum show (with Jack Ferver also on the bill) along with CounterCritic Ryan Tracy and, oh, just about everyone I’ve ever met during my time in NYC. It was quite a scene and a lot of fun. It took me a little while to adjust to some serious cognitive dissonance. This was the first time I had seen someone I know, someone I had watched at the old Collective:Unconscious on Ludlow and Surf Reality on Stanton, have their work contextualized in a museum. At first I thought I had a responsibility to interpret his work as it deals with the re-appropriation of pop culture, exploring gender roles and race, representations of masculinity/femininity/sexuality, etc. etc. But then rather quickly I remembered what I loved most about watching Neal. His unabashed exuberance and joy at performing. He is obviously having so much fun that it is contagious, and his personal warmth and generosity of spirit shine through. And his performances have always been this way – I remember him doing a show in the front room of Galapagos, where it was always hard to get people to pay attention, and he managed to make everyone focus on him and get into it.
My friend who brought me to the New Museum show remarked how she usually hates audience participation (as I think most people do) but how it totally worked with Neal’s show. I think its because you know that on some level he’s totally serious, he’s not trying to trick you or make fun of you or mock the situation – he really, honestly, truthfully, wants you to have as much fun as he’s having. In this day and age, in this cynical, ironic, dismissive, poseur-y, hipster-y, fashionista-y NYC, it is a really refreshing, fulfilling and heartwarming thing to witness
Oh and Jack Ferver was good too. Young, but promising. Someone to watch for sure.
PS: If this is the direction Museums are going, I say “yay!”