Marta Minujín: Partying Like It's 1968

Read more

To the prominent Argentinian-born artist Marta Minujín everything is art. She is a female, Latin version of Andy Warhol (as a matter of fact, that’s her in the main picture, with the Q-tip-haired artist).

Her latest show, MINUCODEs,  at the Americas Society, is historically and socially relevant, as well as a visually stunning experience. In it, Minujín revisits her 1968 piece by the same name, and takes its audience back to the New York social scene of the mid 60’s. Entering the first room in MINUCODEs  is a disorienting yet fascinating experience: the room is flooded with floor-to-ceiling projections of individuals at social events. As she has always been intrigued by social codes, the projections are recordings of Minujín’s own cocktail parties, events she considers “Happenings.”

You’ll find yourself in a room wrapped with projections of people of a different era doing exactly what you are doing, walking around and  socializing. The piece inspired a certain introspection and self-awareness, since for a split second, walking into the room gives the impression that you are seeing simultaneous projections of the room itself.  There’s an element of intrigue and historical reference as you stand facing old footage, dated recordings of social life at the time. It feels like a home video of someone’s wedding or house party; it feels like they are there, too. One thing is certain: the piece is successful in creating a parallel for its viewers between the NYC art scene of yore and of today.

Minujín’s piece also allows the audience to create and influence the environment in one of the rooms through an interactive software that encourages attendants to create their own playlist of sorts, using a variety of seemingly hand-drawn slides and a random soundtrack. I arranged my slides almost arbitrarily, but took my time looking for the right music to play alongside. I chose Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” and eagerly waited for my song to come up and create my own “environment.”

But alas, although the audience interactivity part was fun and interesting, the visual aspect of the piece was its weakest: the images were projected onto a small square in the corner of a wall, and seemed to be blocked by some object or shadow, so it was lost among the swarming crowd.  The slides were beautiful and interesting on their own, but the scheme would have been more effective if only they had been projected onto several walls, on a larger scale, having a more striking impact on the room.

MINUCODEs will remain open until April 30, 2010. More info about the exhibit in Remezcla’s Event Listings.

Images courtesy of the Americas Society.