1993 was a year of changes for me. A month in India with my family where the colours and the smells and the people transformed my horizons. Listening to Tim Buckley’s Sefronia in the boiling bathtub after a month of bucket-baths that were scheduled every three days, and finally appreciating how lucky I was to have constant hot, running water. Hearing Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam on the radio and connecting with this music scene so intensely, but still not knowing how much it would actually affect the rest of my life. I remember school still being a nightmare, but at least with new friends who shared my passions, my interests, my hopes and my fears. Family falling apart around me and tensions were always riding high at home.
1993 was the last year in Sassenage, a village next to Grenoble, nestled at the bottom of the Vercors mountains. It was long summer nights listening to Led Zeppelin and Tori Amos, writing in my journals and dreaming of cute boys and good-looking musicians. It was cold winter treks home from school on the A tram and still sometimes struggling with the French language when my shyness overcame me. 1993 brings me back to my early teens. Emotional, happy, depressed, full of dreams, angst and smiles. And a lot of good music!
How could I miss a museum exhibition named after a Sonic Youth album that focuses on the year 1993? NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star has been on at the New Museum for a few months now and I had wanted to go since it opened but finally made it there last Friday. The exhibition focuses on artwork that was exhibited in 1993, and goes from the 5th floor all the way down to the ground floor. Outside of my own personal life in 1993 I remember all of the different things that were happening, conflicts in the Middle East and Yugoslavia, AIDS, demonstrations against racism in my home town…
While walking through the exhibition I felt that I was walking through a moment in time, but also a moment that is still completely relevant today. Politics and culture and history melded together to create sometimes amazing, sometimes shocking, but mainly inspiring pieces of art that still tell stories. I love that they grouped together a wide collection of artwork and artists that define a year, and even the beginning of a decade, but that it is not focused on one group or artists, but more a span of well-known artists, lesser known artists, New York based artists and foreign artists whose work was exhibited in New York in 1993. Altogether it creates an experience of walking through similar ideas and clashing viewpoints, difference, changes, ideas and personal views. I felt like I was walking through a minefield of inspiration, which lead to me being inspired to go back home and pick up everything that I have put aside and finish off what I started, for better or for worse.
From beauty to pain, via controversy and anger, artists such as Lina Bertucci, Nan Goldin, Nicole Eisenman, Charles Ray, Paul McCarthy, Sean Landers, Gillian Wearing, Pepon Osorio and Larry Clark (among many others) are exhibited. Sculpture, paintings, photography, writing, quotes and collages: all forms of artwork are displayed on all of the floors of the museum. I walked through listening to Nine Inch Nails on my iPod, and felt how perfectly it all worked together, so much that I am still thinking about it today. I love going to museums alone and getting lost in the artwork and in all of the thoughts that it inspires in my own head, and thinking about it for days afterwards. This exhibition is only on until the end of the month, so if you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it.