Behind the scenes of Divya Mehra’s very funny Art Breaks video, On Tragedy (Did you hear the one about the Indian?), which “references” Richard Prince’s classic reversal of the American Express tagline “Don’t leave home without it,” in front of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.
New Art Breaks videos are co-curated by Creative Time and MoMA PS1. They air on MTV and can all be found here on our Tumblr. This making-of video was directed by Creative Time Video Fellow Jay Buim.
This has been a great year for Creative Time. We’ve been to Mars, sent 100 images into space, put art back on MTV and partied on the beach in Far Rockaway. To celebrate we’d like to share some tools for your intergalactic adventures in 2013:
1. Tom Sachs’ Indoctrination Station at Park Ave Armory may be closed but there’s still time to take home a piece of Tom Sachs Space Program: Mars. Sachs’ third and LAST edition of Nugget playing cards are the perfect stocking stuffer and source of entertainment for your journey to the next frontier. Each card features a unique Tom Sachs image and are kid tested, Kanye approved.
2. Are you ready for lift off? Don’t forget to grab a copy of Trevor Paglen’s The Last Pictures. His book features the 100 images reflecting our times (and currently in geosynchronous orbit); perfect for your first interaction with extra-terrestrials. Don’t believe us? Just ask the NYTimes.
3. The holiday season (much like space travel) is all about accessories and trinkets. Our retro and SUPER stylish Creative Time fanny pack can hold all of them. Just trust us, this pack will give you a fanny that is out of this world!
4. With your copy of The Last Pictures, a set of Tom Sachs’ cards, and your Creative Time fanny pack you’re just about ready for interplanetary adventures. All you need are some sweet, new digs. Try on this SSION red doggy shirt with an image from Cody (SSION) Critcheloe’s Art Breaks video now on MTV and online.
Creative Time wishes you luck on your epic adventures and we look forward to another year of groundbreaking art in the public realm.
**If there’s still some cash left in your budget after stocking up on materials for space travel feel free to donate to Creative Time!**
Jani Ruscica in collaboration with Sini Pelkki Screen Test (for a living sculpture), 2012
Additional Credits Living sculpture: Magnús Logi Kristinsson Living sculpture (hands): Miia Pelkki Cinematographer: Anu Keränen Camera assistant: Nea Salminen Make-up: Salla Yli-Luopa Costume: Emmi Leeve Color Grading and Post-Production: Inka Ruohela / Generator Post
Artist Bio: Mads Lynnerup (b. 1976, Copenhagen, Denmark) Mads Lynnerup uses a variety of media to create humorous and poignant works based on observations of his immediate environment. In his video for MTV, Astrobright (Fake and Temporary), Lynnerup focuses on the antithetical landscapes of contemporary art and fitness, finding that these seemingly disparate worlds are, in reality, both obsessive and fanatic in their own way. As an artist who recently started a personal exercise regime of his own, Lynnerup is fascinated with how pieces of generic gym equipment look and operate as objects in fitness centers. This seemingly mundane observation is a launching point for the artist’s ongoing attempt to break open the static nature of art objects displayed in galleries and museums. For his Art Breaks piece, Lynnerup worked with his own personal trainer, Tim Adams, to create a series of short fitness routines outside of the gym environment. Lynnerup recently earned an MFA from Columbia University in New York and has shown his work nationally and internationally at such venues as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; MoMA PS1, NY; and Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland.
When MTV president Stephen Friedman started devising strategies to attract young viewers back to the network, he revisited the edgy programming that helped made MTV a success the first time around. That’s when he decided to reinvent Art Breaks, the influential series of artists’ videos the network premiered in 1985. But to develop high-quality art videos that would be appropriate for the small screen, he wanted a major institutional partner: the Museum of Modern Art.
That’s when he called Anne Pasternak. Pasternak, who runs the much smaller and scrappier Creative Time, an East Village-based nonprofit that produces unconventional public-art projects, had already worked with MTV, choosing videos by avant-garde artists for its high-definition Times Square screen. As an effusive art historian with a direct line to major New York power players in the worlds of art, fashion, music, and politics, Pasternak reached out to MoMA director Glenn Lowry. And so a collaboration was born.
What lured Friedman wasn’t just Pasternak’s extensive rolodex: it was the savvy, slightly subversive way that she and her team manage to produce edgy, thought-provoking art that is accessible to the mainstream. If you have lived or traveled to New York in the last three decades, you have no doubt experienced a public-art piece staged by the adventurous, socially progressive, and at times self-consciously wacky organization, though you might not know it. Commandeering everything from deli cups to ATMs to carpets in Grand Central Station, an old market on the Lower East Side, and the Coney Island Boardwalk, the organization has brought the transformative vision of art to places—and institutions—that were neglected, underused, or invisible. It helped Mierle Laderman Ukeles celebrate sanitation workers with a street dance mirroring their movements; put Gran Fury’s activist AIDS messages on city buses; brought life to New York’s waterfronts with performances on the Hudson waterfront and under the Brooklyn Bridge.
This energy and accessibility was a major draw to Friedman, who must consider the diverse sensibilities of his global audience of 600 million viewers. The Art Breaks, he notes, take what MTV’s music videos do “to a very different level. They’re complicated and entertaining in a not clearly linear way.” The first videos, by artists including Rashaad Newsome, who specializes in “hip hop heraldry,” and Mickalene Thomas, best known for her bedazzled portraits of black women, began airing this spring. The next batch arrives in August.
The history behind our new partnership with MoMA PS1 to bring “Art Breaks” back to MTV is pretty amazing. Check out this 1985 “Art Break” featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat, the visual artist who gets more mentions in today’s hip-hop than anyone except perhaps Picasso.