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Wandering revelers seek refuge at P.S.1’s Warm Up

Unleash your inner urban nomad this summer with a series of experimental musical performances housed under Bedouin-style tents, as part of the 11th annual Warm Up music series at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center through Sept. 5.

On Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., P.S.1 in Long Island City will showcase a broad array of musical genres performed by international and local musicians and DJs, in the museum’s courtyard. Warm Up is presented in conjunction with “afterparty,” an imaginative urban landscape that was chosen as the winning design of the 2009 MoMA/P.S. 1 Young Architects Program, created by Hilary Sample and Michael Meredith of New Haven, Conn., and Cambridge, Mass.-based architectural and design firm MOS.

The Young Architects Program, now in its 10th year, offers architects at the inception of their careers the opportunity to build full-scale projects in the courtyard of P.S.1, said Glenn Lowry, director of The Museum of Modern Art at a press conference June 29.

The “afterparty” installation, a series of whimsical oversized huts and chimneys constructed from scaffolding and aluminum mesh, which are covered with palm thatch fibers to give the mounds a furry appearance, will release mist to keep midsummer revelers cool as they groove to bands, DJs and experimental musicians.

“Never before has P.S.1 looked so hairy,” said Lowry.

The winning architectural design was chosen from 40 entries narrowed down to five finalists, said Lowry. The finalists, working within an allocated project budget of $70,000, were required to incorporate elements of shade, seating, water and bar areas into their project proposals after visiting the site for inspiration.

The 2009 Young Architects Program is sponsored by Bloomberg, with additional support provided by the Bertha and Isaac Liberman Foundation, Jeffrey and Michele Klein, Agnes Gund, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Elise Jaffe Jeffrey Brown and Con Edison.

Despite the economic meltdown, there was never any question of not providing funding for this year’s Young Architects Program, a vital launching pad for young architects’ careers, said Barry Bergdoll, the Philip Johnson chief curator of architecture and design at MoMA.

“‘Afterparty,’ for us, isn’t the end, (but) is a mark of continued commitment for making things happen,” he said.

More than 40 volunteers, who were undeterred by the rain, helped to assemble “afterparty” in P.S.1’s courtyard, said Sample. To create a refuge for overheated Warm Up participants, the architectural duo located the coolest pocket of air in a rear corner of the courtyard, and constructed chimneys to form a passive cooling system, said Meredith.

Warm Up performers include Berlin-based disco DJ Danny Wang, ethereal rock group Stars Like Fleas, and eminent experimental performer Glenn Branca. Admission is $10, which gives visitors access to both Warm Up and all museum exhibits.

Warm Up furthers P.S.1’s mission of showcasing all different art forms, including contemporary music, according to Warm Up co-curator Zach Layton, managing/technical director of Brooklyn’s Issue Project Room. The music series fits in with one of the great trends in contemporary art—participation, he said.

“The idea of a medium has somewhat evaporated, and what you’re left with is a viewer and the work,” said Layton. “This idea of participation very much resonates with the idea of a large party in the courtyard (of) the museum.”

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