If you haven’t yet made it out to Long Island City–future home of all things artsy and cool–now you have a great excuse.
PS1, the Queens offshoot of MoMA specializing in conceptual art, holds a prestigious annual competition to select a large-scale project that will inhabit its courtyard. The Young Architects Program’s winning project from last year has been described as a “giant blue monster thing.” But this year, can you resist the call of the Party Wall?
Perhaps the name is a bit cheesy, but this giant, a-frame structure is supremely functional. Visitors can sit in its shade with their feet in shallow pools, or hang out underneath a cooling mist piped from giant blue bags hanging like antiseptic balls from its crotch. Want some entertainment? Sit nearby and watch the reaction from people when the Party Wall spontaneously sprays water from its butt. At the base, you can pop out one of 120 benches disguised as more cladding and use them to sit or lay out in the sun, off of the dusty gravel courtyard.
Even better, the party wall is constructed from scrap wood leftover from the skateboard manufacturing process, and the water bags are actually giant punching bags. Besides providing water to the fountains, they serve as ballast to keep the lightweight, billboard-like structure from tipping over and blowing away.
While the Party Wall is probably interesting to casual, weekday visitors, it really shines during PS1’s weekly summer Warm Up party. I headed out last weekend for the opener, and as the sun beat down on gravel courtyard enclosed with high cement walls, nothing was more welcome than sitting in the Party Wall’s shade, sipping a beer and dipping my feet in a pool.
Party, and Consider Ecological Challenges
But the Party Wall isn’t the only sustainable attraction. A large outdoor space to the right when you walk in houses an artists colony, along with beer tents and corn dogs. The EXPO Colony is meant to spark a conversation about sustainable living in the face of an unstable political and natural climate. Created from recycled and salvaged materials, it’s a collection of Air Streams clustered under and on a wooden structure. There are several picnic benches in the shade, and even a hydroponic garden.
It’s an interesting concept. Yes, people live there. And yes, hoards of partygoers were traipsing around in their colony, eating freshly cracked oysters and ceviche. It’s very public, and that is the point. The colony is part of a larger conceptual art series exploring ecological challenges, including a giant freezer room with ice blocks from an Icelandic glacier. I’m not an art critic, but I can say that as far as conceptual art goes, this stuff is pretty cool (I would even call some of it a mind f***), and I encourage you to check it out.
You probably will regardless–the bathroom situation as PS1 Warm Up requires you to go deep into the museum to find a bathroom without a line. At the very least, if you want a cocktail instead of beer, you need to step inside to the bar. Thus fortified with alcohol and culture, head out to the dance floor and rock out to electronic music.