"NYC 1993" looks at art made and exhibited in New York over the course of one year, providing a synchronic panorama in which established artists and emerging figures of the time are presented alongside the work of authors whose influence has since faded from the discussion. Centering on the year 1993, the exhibition is conceived as a time capsule, an experiment in collective memory that attempts to capture a specific moment at the intersection of art, pop culture, and politics. "NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star" will be on view at the New Museum from February 13–May 26, 2013.
The social and economic landscape of the early '90s was a cultural turning point both nationally and globally. Conflict in Europe, attempts at peace in the Middle East, the AIDS crisis, national debates on health care, gun control, and gay rights, and caustic partisan politics served as both the background and source material for a number of younger artists who first came to prominence in 1993. At the same time, an increasingly active international network of artists, curators, and dealers contributed to a burgeoning global art world, amplified by the nascent tools of digital information. Twenty years later, it is time to reconsider the events, debates, and histories that prompted dramatic changes in art and culture. The Clinton inauguration, the first World Trade Center bombing, the Waco siege, and the March on Washington for Gay, Lesbian, and Bi Rights and Liberation, and other flash point events all shaped new discussions about social progress and political action. With this backdrop, young artists from New York made their mark in major international exhibitions and artists from Los Angeles, Britain, Italy, and Germany debuted in New York and provided a new texture to an already dynamic scene.
"NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star" draws its subtitle from the eponymous album that the New York rock band Sonic Youth recorded in 1993 and captures the complex exchange between mainstream and underground culture across disciplines, which came to define the art of the era. The New Museum's exhibition will include a number of historical reconstructions of important installations and exhibitions from 1993, while other works will be revisited and reinterpreted from the vantage point of today-highlighting the ways in which certain actions, events, attitudes, and emotions reverberate towards the present. These works will sketch out the complex intersection between art and the world at large that defined the 1990s and continues to shape artistic expression today.