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The Principal of P.S. 1

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P.S. 1 Time Line


1976
P.S. 1 opens with “Rooms,” which fills its dilapidated schoolhouse with installation art. The exhibition astonishes viewers—can a hole in a wall be art?—and ends up defining a genre.


1977
The museum launches its national and international studio program, bringing artists to Queens for a year—and making many into permanent New Yorkers.


1981
“New York/New Wave” includes several paintings by an unknown Jean-Michel Basquiat. Roving curator Henry Geldzahler takes note, he’s praised in Artforum, and soon the 21-year-old is a star.


1985
Germano Celant, the Italian critic who coined the term Arte Povera, introduces the minimalist genre to New York audiences with his show, “The Knot.”


1986
Meeting, a permanent “skyspace” installation by James Turrell, becomes one of P.S. 1’s landmark attractions. Heiss describes the meditative, open-ceilinged room as “church.”


1997
The museum reopens after a top-to-bottom renovation that reorients the building, adds a sculpture garden, and drains its finances.


1998
“Inside Out: New Chinese Art,” a joint exhibition with the Asia Society, introduces New Yorkers to Chinese contemporary artists like Cai Guo-Qiang and Zhang Huan.


1999
A city audit finds rampant bookkeeping irregularities, including credit-card abuse and unreported payments. No fraud is alleged.


2000
MoMA and P.S. 1 merge and launch the Young Architects Program, an annual competition to design a courtyard installation for Warm Up, the summer dance party.


2004
A Lee Lozano retrospective rekindles interest in the sixties New York artist, who abandoned her work in 1971 and died in 1999.


2005
Critics call “Greater New York 2005,” a citywide survey of new artists, overcrowded and unfocused; artists find the selection process chaotic. “We made a lot of enemies with that show,” says a former P.S. 1 staffer.


2006
“Into Me/ Out of Me,” a polarizing survey of gross-out art, is devoted to bodily functions. Most impressive: Much of the sophisticated P.S. 1 audience had seen it all before.


2007
The Times, reporting Kathy Halbreich’s appointment at MoMA, reveals Heiss’s impending retirement.


2008
MoMA and P.S. 1 split a sprawling Olafur Eliasson exhibition. The successful show is the kind of collaborative programming MoMA envisions for its partnership with P.S. 1.


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