Rockaway! 2018: Narcissus
Garden by Yayoi Kusama
July 1–September 3, 2018
MoMA PS1 presents Yayoi Kusama’s (Japan, b. 1929) site-specific installation of Narcissus Garden (1966–present) as the third iteration of Rockaway!, a free public art festival presented with Rockaway Artists Alliance, Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and Bloomberg Philanthropies in the Gateway National Recreation Area at Fort Tilden. Comprised of 1,500 mirrored stainless steel spheres, Narcissus Garden is on view in a former train garage that dates to the time when Fort Tilden was an active US military base. The mirrored metal surfaces reflect the industrial surroundings of the now-abandoned building, drawing attention to Fort Tilden’s history as well as the devastating damage inflicted on many buildings in the area by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Narcissus Garden was first presented in 1966, when Kusama staged an unofficial installation and performance at the 33rd Venice Biennale. The silver spheres, originally made from plastic, were installed on the lawn in front of the Italian Pavilion, reflecting the landscape of the exhibition grounds. Kusama herself stood among them, barefoot and dressed in a gold kimono, alongside yard signs inscribed with the words “Narcissus Garden, Kusama” and “Your Narcissism for Sale.” Throughout the opening day of the exhibition, Kusama remained in the installation, tossing the spheres in the air and offering to sell them to visitors for 1,200 lire (approximately $2) each. The action, which was viewed both as self-promotion and a critique on the commercialization of contemporary art, would later be seen as a pivotal moment in Kusama’s career as she transitioned from installation toward the radical, politically charged public performances that would be the focus of her work in the late 1960s in New York City.
The performances that followed the first presentation of Narcissus Garden became increasingly more elaborate and regularly involved multiple participants. Kusama often staged these happenings in or near New York City parks and cultural landmarks, including Body Festival (1967) in Tompkins Square Park and Washington Square Park, Love In Festival (1968) and Bust Out Happening (1969) in Central Park, and Grand Orgy to Awaken the Dead (1968) in the sculpture garden of The Museum of Modern Art. Iterations of Narcissus Garden have since been presented worldwide.
The installation of Narcissus Garden is accompanied by an exhibition in the neighboring Rockaway Artist Alliance gallery that charts the history of Rockaway! and the ongoing work of the Rockaway Artist Alliance.
Hours and Admission
Free and open to the public Friday through Sunday, 12:00–6:00 p.m., and on July 4 (Independence Day) and September 3 (Labor Day), 12:00–6:00 p.m.
Fort Tilden (169 State Road) is accessible by the Q22 and Q35 buses, the A train/shuttle to 116th St, via NYC Ferry from Wall Street/Pier 11 (from Manhattan) or Brooklyn Army Terminal (from Brooklyn), and via bicycle. Parking is available at adjacent Riis Park, or on-site by requesting a temporary permit from an RAA representative at the sTudio7 main desk.
See the exact location of Rockaway! 2018 in Google maps.
For more information, please visit: https://www.moma.org/rockaway
Rockaway! Free Public Arts Festival
The Jamaica Bay-Rockaway Parks Conservancy sponsored the Rockaway! public arts festival from June 29 to September 1, 2014 to celebrate the reopening of historic Fort Tilden and recognize the ongoing recovery of the Rockaway peninsula. The festival was a huge success attracting more than 12,000 people during its two-month run.
Organized by MoMA PS1 and the Rockaway Artists Alliance, Rockaway! featured solo projects by Patti Smith, Janet Cardiff and Adrián Villar Rojas at Fort Tilden and an international group show with the Honolulu Biennial at the Rockaway Beach Surf Club. Patti Smith's installation of five granite blocks engraved with Walt Whitman quotes will remain on permanent display at Fort Tilden.
Fort Tilden, which is owned and managed by the National Park Service, was established as a military base in 1917. It was intended to fortify the Rockaway peninsula from naval attacks during World War I and remained an active base during World War II and the Cold War. Both anti-aircraft guns and Nike Missiles were placed at Fort Tilden to protect from aerial attacks. The fort was decommissioned in 1974 and now serves as a public park.
Rockaway! was made possible through the generous support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Rockefeller Foundation and The Secunda Family Foundation with additional support provided by the Moore Charitable Foundation, National Grid and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Special thanks to Volkswagen of America for their past and current support.