Every so often, a sense of restlessness prompts dramatic propulsion in art and culture. In 1993, the catalysts were artists, curators, and dealers—among others, Armory founders Matthew Marks, Paul Morris, Colin de Land, and Pat Hearn. The cast of ’93 were movers and shakers who embraced a changing social and economic landscape—AOL 2.0 and the first blog post, the AIDS crisis, Giuliani’s election, conflict in the Middle East—no different than their early-century counterparts, who challenged past ideals of arts, culture, and politics. In both transitional climates, groups of creatives quickly learned how to keep with the pace.
The current exhibition at the New Museum, “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash, and No Star” is a collective memory of the early nineties as a cultural turning point, named after the 1993 album by Sonic Youth, who were criticized for ‘selling out’, a term that would soon be irrelevant.
The show includes 75 artists from this defining era—a time when Gavin Brown set up shop in the Chelsea Hotel, the Whitney Museum shocked the art world with their landmark biennial exhibition, and the Gramercy International Art Fair (later called The Armory Show) first displayed artwork around the beds of the Gramercy Hotel.
Art Club 2000, Untitled (Conran’s I), 1992– 93; Jason Rhoades, Garage Renovation New York (Cherry Makita), 1993; Sean Landers,[sic], 1993 and Paul McCarthy, Cultural Gothic, 1992; Lorna Simpson, 7 Mouths, 1993; Wolfgang Tillmans, Moby lying, 1993; Matthew Barney, DRAWING RESTRAINT 7, 1993 courtesy of The New Museum.