Navin Rawanchaikul: I Taxi Café
May 31–September 20, 2001
P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center and the Public Art Fund present Navin Rawanchaikul: I Taxi Café, their first collaboration. With humor and an unorthodox spirit, the sprawling, interactive I Taxi Café takes art at P.S.1 beyond the museum walls and into surrounding communities. Through extensive interviews with cab drivers from Long Island City companies, Rawanchaikul has created a comic book to be distributed free in 220 taxis at P.S.1 and at Madison Square Park. Rawanchaikul's taxi cafés will be built at P.S.1 and in the revitalized Madison Square Park, at 23rd Street, between Fifth and Madison Aveunes, as part of Public Art Fund's Target Art in the Park contemporary art series. The P.S.1 part of this project is organized by P.S.1 Deputy Director Tom Finkelpearl.
Public Art Fund and Rawanchaikul worked with Long Island City-based taxicab companies to gather true-life cabby tales, which he will transform into a Manga-style comic book. In addition to the 50,000 comic books that will be distributed by a fleet of 220 cabs around New York City, another 50,000 will be available in the Madison Square Park, as well as at P.S.1 and area airports. Also, Rawanchaikul will upholster the cabs' interiors with montages of imagery drawn from the comic books.
Using the yellow taxicab as a New York symbol, Rawanchaikul portrays everyday life through the eyes of cab drivers. Building upon his experiences in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and in other cities throughout the world, Rawanchaikul's taxi represents the very essence of urban life and symbolizes the flowing energy of the city's streets and the dynamic connection between the city's different districts and people.
The taxi café at P.S.1 will be wallpapered with scenes from the comic book. Ten hand-painted taxi shells will hang from the ceiling, and patrons can rest in brightly colored chairs designed by Rawanchaikul and made from old taxi tires.
Navin Rawanchaikul was born in 1971 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Past exhibitions include The 2nd International Taipei Biennial, Taipei, Taiwan; 11th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia; and Cities on the Move curated by Hou Hanru and Hans-Ulrich Obrist. Other projects include Navin & His Gang (Visit) Vancouver, Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Navin Cooperative Society: Sap-Da-Ruam-Tuak Tuk-Tuk-Koan-Muan in collaboration with Rirkrit Tiravanija and 20 Tuk-Tuks.
I Taxi Café at P.S.1 is organized by the Public Art Fund and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center. This installation is part of Target Art in the Park, a group show of major new commissions by Navin Rawanchaikul, Teresita Fernandez, and Tobias Rehberger, organized by the Public Art Fund and made possible by Target Stores and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Challenge, 2001.