MoMA PS1, Long Island City

MoMA PS1 | 22-25 Jackson Ave. at 46 Ave., Queens
NY 11101 Long Island City

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MoMA PS1 presents the first large-scale museum exhibition in New York of work by the artist Ryan Trecartin (American, b. 1981). Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever fills seven galleries with sculptural theater installations that house projections of the seven movies comprising Trecartin’s most recent body of work, Any Ever (2009–2010). The exhibition is on view in the First Floor Main Galleries from June 19 through September 3, 2011, and is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Director, MoMA PS1, and Chief Curator at Large, The Museum of Modern Art, with the assistance of Eliza Ryan, Curatorial Assistant, MoMA PS1. Trecartin’s distinctive cinematic and sculptural language—developed through a close synergy with his primary collaborator, Lizzie Fitch—continues a tradition of art that heralds, shapes, and challenges the defining technologies and cultural advances of the era. Consistent with his work to date, Any Ever explores emergent concepts of identity, narrative, language, and visual culture through darkly jubilant, frenetic formal experimentations.

Shot in Miami, Florida, and made with contributors ranging from friends and artists to child actors and reality-television performers, Any Ever comprises seven autonomous but interrelated videos. The work is structured as a diptych, with Trill-ogy Comp (three movies) as one section and Re’Search Wait’S (four movies) as the other. Taken together, these videos embark on poetic, formal, and structural elaborations of new forms of technology, language, narrative, identity, and humanity, portraying an extra-dimensional world that channels the existential dramas of our own. The individual videos fit together in shifting combinations, with Any Ever’s master narrative chosen by each viewer.

Trill-ogy Comp

Trill-ogy Comp consists of three movies: K-CoreaINC.K (section a), Sibling Topics (section a), and P.opular S.ky (section ish). The title of this piece of the Any Ever diptych riffs on the words “trill”—as in the rapid alternation of two notes, or the sound produced by rolling "r"s—and “comp”—as in “complement,” “comprehension,” and, especially in regard to music and digital editing, “composition.” Each movie follows the structuralist unity of form and content, self-reflexively building and demonstrating formal logic through narrative abstractions. K-CoreaINC.K (section a) features actors styled as corporate beings called “Koreas.” Held together in a lightly allegorical cloud of reductive international stereotypes, they are homogenized by their blond wigs, powder, and office-casual attire. The video revolves around an unending party-like meeting, led by Global Korea (Telfar Clemens), whose circular narrative evades a traditional dramatic arc. The Koreas seem focused only on absurd self-perpetuation, whereby the maintenance of their careers is the principal goal of their jobs.

Sibling Topics (section a) adopts a narrative and style that are more cinematic and seemingly straightforward than any of Trecartin’s other works. The artist plays quadruplet sisters named Ceader, Britt, Adobe, and Deno, whose personal boundaries are indistinct, as is the nature of their group dynamic, which seems both familial and corporate. Sibling Topics counterbalances the circularity of K-CoreaINC.K, and together the two videos explore dimensions of narrative absurdity as well as the persistence with which communities form, hybridize, and thrive in any circumstance P.opular S.ky (section ish) submerges characters from other sections of Any Ever into an extreme poetic state where their creative limits bloom, but perhaps only on an illusory level. The events of P.opular S.ky are the fevered and shadowy projections of a mind being played with. Whether real or not, these situations key the arc and understanding of the rest of Trill-ogy Comp by depicting versions of their finalities.

Re’Search Wait’S

Re’Search Wait’S comprises four movies: Ready, The Re’Search, Roamie View: History Enhancement, and Temp Stop. The setting for this part of the Any Ever diptych is an industry predicated on the supremacy of metaphysically evolved market research. As a picture of modern consumer society taken to an extreme, Re’Search Wait’S verges on social science fiction and ties together the two sections of the diptych as a yin and yang of nihilism and boundless meaning. In Ready, the character Wait, played by Trecartin, is introduced as the eponymous figure of the series. He forsakes a career in favor of a job, the execution of which Trecartin calls a “work performance.” Wait is joined by a careerist, Ready (Veronica Gelbaum), who calls the shots but is locked in her own endless narcissistic ascent. A third type of worker, Able (Lizzie Fitch), more fluidly adopts and discards the gestures of job and career, positing herself as a hobbyist who contrives the situations and outcomes she needs to keep her going. The idea of “transumerism,” or consumerism driven by experience, is also introduced as a central theme and underlies the plight of the character JJ.

Roamie View : History Enhancement reveals the character JJ as a husk of his former self. In the movie he hires Roamie Hood’s (Alison Powell) company to roam backwards through time to research an opportunity for an edit that could alter his future-present. With Backseat Grace (Rachel Lord) and Liberty Lance (Liz Rywelski), Roamie enters the suburban lair of three average teenage boys and then an animated environment strewn with stock footage videos of female assistants in both corporate and shopping settings. Traversing times and possibilities as if they were physical places, Roamie View: History Enhancement foregoes the importance of grasping who one is in favor of where.

The Re’Search is a “tween-aged” microcosm of Any Ever. Functioning as market research collected by the character Wait for the character Ready, the movie doubles as the site of Wait’s vacation. Echoed versions of scenarios from other sections of Any Ever play out here, and characters either reappear or are replicated as young girls. It is also a production commissioned for the character Voy, who moves in and out of the action while blurring the boundaries of what is inside and outside reality and fiction. Temp Stop, as the title implies, has a disjunctive quality that separates it from the other parts of Re’Search Wait’S. As if emanating from the basement of Any Ever, each scene plays like a hidden epilogue in which the characters appear surreal—in part because they are often so ordinary.

About the Artist Ryan Trecartin (American, b. 1981) lives and works in Los Angeles. Any Ever has been exhibited at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2010), The Power Plant, Toronto (2010), and Istanbul Modern (2011). Forthcoming presentations include the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami (2011) and Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (2011). Trecartin has exhibited at numerous international biennials including the Singapore Biennial (2011), Gwangju Biennial (2010), Liverpool Biennial (2010), and Whitney Biennial (2006).

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Ryan Trecartin
Any Ever
Kurator: Klaus Biesenbach