MoMA PS1 presents Rockaway!, a site-specific outdoor installation by artist Katharina Grosse (Germany, b. 1961). Reflecting the bold colors of sunset in the Rockaways, Grosse has transformed Fort Tilden’s decaying aquatics building into a monumental and sublime artwork using a specialized technique of spraying brightly colored paint directly onto the structure. Grosse’s installation serves as a final celebration and memorialization of this iconic building, which was rendered structurally unsound by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and is set to be demolished in late 2016.
Grosse’s singular approach highlights the potential of painting as a medium, and encapsulates the stark beauty of this manmade structure and its natural surroundings. In her practice, Grosse seeks to extend the scope of her painting beyond the borders of the canvas. Grosse’s installation work seamlessly combines subtle nuances of light and shadow, characteristic of traditional landscape painting, with the weight and spectacle of large-scale sculpture. These sprawling and sculptural landscapes evoke the physicality of action painting and earthworks through their gestures and monumentality.
Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator-at-Large, Museum of Modern Art, said “In 2008, I saw Katharina Grosse’s work for Prospect.1 in New Orleans, where she painted a small house that was abandoned and condemned after Hurricane Katrina. I was deeply moved that a building just waiting to be taken down was given this temporary, proud, and fragile beauty. When I heard that the aquatics building in Fort Tilden was to be demolished following Hurricane Sandy, I immediately wanted to invite Katharina to do a project at the site.” Biesenbach added, “our collaboration, especially with the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy and National Park Service, supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, is focused on the longer-term strategy to bring awareness to the Rockaways and Jamaica Bay as one of the most fragile ecological zones in New York City. As demonstrated by Hurricane Sandy, it is an area that bears both some of the most significant challenges, but also the largest potential for our community.”
Thomas Secunda, Co-Founder of Bloomberg LP and Chair of the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, added, “The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy is proud to partner with MoMA PS1, Rockaway Artists Alliance, National Park Service and the Central Park Conservancy on this exciting public art installation by Katharina Grosse. Katharina captures the bold, expansive and exhilarating colors of the Rockaway sunset, which we all treasure as part of our collective experience of the Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks. We are honored and extend our appreciation to Katharina for sharing her vision with us. Special thanks to Klaus Biesenbach, Joshua Laird, Dan Guarino, and their dedicated teams for making this happen.”
Rockaway! is a celebration of the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway Peninsula following the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, organized in collaboration with the Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, Central Park Conservancy, NYC Parks & Recreation, and Rockaway Beach Surf Club. Rockaway! 2016 is a continuation of MoMA PS1’s ongoing collaborative programming alongside the Rockaway Artists Alliance that began with collaborating on rescue efforts immediately following Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and continued with the VW Dome 2 in 2013 and Rockaway! in summer 2014, which featured solo projects by Patti Smith, Adrián Villar Rojas, and Janet Cardiff as well as a group show at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Katharina Grosse (Freiburg, b. 1961) lives and works in Berlin. She studied at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany, and Kunstakademie Münster, Germany. Grosse’s work has been exhibited in several solo and group exhibitions. She participated in the 56th Venice Biennale, 2015. Recent solo museum exhibitions include Katharina Grosse, Museum Frieder Burda, Germany, (2016); Museum Wiesbaden, Germany (2015); Yes No Why Later, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2015); Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf (2014); Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas (2013); De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, The Netherlands (2013); MOCA, Cleveland (2012); Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany (2011); and Mass MoCA, Massachusetts (2010).
Image © Rockaway! featuring site-specific installation by Katharina Grosse. Image courtesy the artist and MoMA PS1. Photo by Pablo Enriquez.