Pop Rally at MoMA

Tonight, after work–and after finishing all forty files pertaining to the e.e. cummings drawings–I headed down to MoMA for this month’s PopRally (And yes, I am absolutely going to try to go to the one on the 20th at P.S. 1).  The galleries stayed open until 8:45, booze and hor’d’ouerves were served, and the Brooklyn-based band/performance group Stars Like Fleas played a set.  I knew nothing about Stars Like Fleas, I just wanted to see some art and maybe some people in unusual outfits and possibly a performance piece.

I arrived at MoMA a little before Stars Like Fleas started their set.  My nifty Whitney badge got me in for free, and I joined a cluster of mostly young hipster art folk (though there were a few random older people, and some parents with kids–start them early!) in the area in front of the garden facing the statue of Rodin’s Balzac.  The band had set themselves up around the statue.

MoMA crowd from within the crowd.
MoMA crowd from within the crowd.
MoMA crowd from above.
MoMA crowd from above.
Stars like Fleas
Stars like Fleas

So I’m milling through the crowd and I see more than a few people dressed like, well, dressed like people on this website. I wasn’t sure if they were with the band or if they just were.  However, they all had feathers–and so did some members of the band, so perhaps they were fans of the band?

Hipster version of Lord of the Rings
Hipster version of Lord of the Rings

Stars like Fleas started playing and their music was fairly ambient, so I decided to go look at some art.  You could hear the band from pretty much anywhere in the museum, so anytime the music started sounding intriguing I would pop out into the atrium and watch the band for a few minutes.  I visited the contemporary gallery, which had a giant drawing show: Compass in Hand: Selections from the Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection. Some fantastic works by Cosima von Bonin, Eva Rothschild, Shahzia Sikander, Arturo Herrera, Wilhelm Sasmal, Kara Walker, and everyone’s favorite, Paul McCarthy:

Penis hat and pirates, thanks Paul.
Penis hat and pirates, thanks Paul.

I also saw Stage Pictures show, featuring works by artists who had designed for theatre, opera, and ballet.  I love seeing collaborative arts.  Naturally, there were a lot of works by Russian artists of the early twentieth century, a huge wall of Chagalls, and a room with a few of the Picasso’s puppet-costumes from Parade.

Puppet costume from Parade.
Puppet costume from Parade.
If Picasso designed Equus.
If Picasso designed Equus.

I then headed upstairs to see Tangled Alphabets, the show featuring the art of Leon Ferrari and Mira Schendel, which closes this week.   I’m glad I was able to see it before it closed–some of the work, especially the Japanese paper sculptures by Schendel, Ferrari’s three-dimensional works, and Ferrari’s Rereading the Bible series were fantastic.

Mira Schendel
Mira Schendel
Ferrari sculptures, the one on the left is bone.
Ferrari sculptures, the one on the left is bone.

I planned on leaving the museum after seeing this show, as it was getting late, and I was hungry and wanted to go to the gym.  As I headed to the museum exit, however, I was greeted by a wall of sound.  I assumed it was the band, gettin’ noisy.  However, as I stepped off the escalator on the 4th floor, I was met by a procession of hipsters!

A procession of hipsters!  Led by the members of Stars like Fleas.
A procession of hipsters! Led by the members of Stars like Fleas.

The crowd of people droned one note continuously: the band on their instruments, the people via their mouths or, like this woman below, a harmonica.

Playing the same single droning note on their instruments.  The audience was humming the note as well.  So ambient.
Playing the same single droning note on their instruments. The audience was humming the note as well. So ambient.

The band led the group (and I, of course, followed, because this was AMAZING, like my dreams come true but WAY BETTER) to the entrance to the 4th floor permanent galleries.  One of the members of the band, who had a very long beard, started passing out pens.

Collecting the clicky pens.
Collecting the clicky pens.

Then, the music stopped.  And everyone who had a pen (I did not, very sad), started CLICKING THEIR PENS.

CLICK THE PENS.
CLICK THE PENS.
CLICKCLICKCLICKCLICKCLICK
CLICKCLICKCLICKCLICKCLICK
Supreme hipster clickage of clicky pens.
Supreme hipster clickage of clicky pens.

And then, just as suddenly, the clicking ended, people applauded, and the performance was OVER.  Until 7:50 when Stars like Fleas started their second set.  Anyhow, it was kind of amazing.  And the people.  MoMA Poprally = SUCCESS.

Smile for the camera--I have to admit, I was trying to be inconspicuous...
Smile for the camera--I have to admit, I was trying to be inconspicuous...
YAY WE DID IT!
YAY WE DID IT!

So after witnessing this performance I left MoMA, and walked back to the subway.  I was on the phone with my friend Tammi when I passed the Lever Building, where this awaited me:

Yes please.
Yes please.

After gasping: “GIANT HELLO KITTIES OHMYGOD SO CUTE” I hung up on Tammi and snapped pictures of this sculpture and several other Hello Kitty sculptures in the surrounding courtyard, including two Hello Kitty fountains that spouted water from their eyes.  SO CUTE.

The rest of the evening was spent having dinner, going to the gym, tidying up the apartment a bit, and making this for my lunch tomorrow.  And on that note, bed–my MoMA adventure has left me exhausted.

One thought on “Pop Rally at MoMA

  1. MOMA sounds great! Like the pen-clicking performance —did it simply catch a cadence of its own supporting on-going one-note-droning?

    Chick peas! Special buy on a case, perhaps? Cowabunga!

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