Goings on About Town: Art


The New Yorker


The young American artist known as MPA, who lives in the Mojave Desert, explores the poetic and philosophical implications of colonizing the red planet, Mars, in this enigmatic four-part exhibition. On one recent evening, two gender-defiant dancers in red makeup moved with intensity through the museum’s packed lobby; cutouts in their jeans revealed “moons,” their bare buttocks playing the roles of the Martian satellites Phobos and Deimos. Curious viewers followed the stern, fast-moving performers into a red-lit, black-painted gallery, where MPA’s installation includes moody photo-based works, a red phone (pick it up and a voice questions you about your Mars-based fantasies), and cryptic arrangements of detritus scavenged in the desert, paired with painted wooden dowels. A site-specific piece titled “Long Line” traces a crimson path through the museum; it leads to the third-floor theatre, where MPA will establish a “self-sustaining biosphere” in a ten-day, round-the-clock performance, starting Feb. 9.

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