Young Architects Program

Philip Johnson

June 20, 1999—August 30, 1999

Philip Johnson

Untitled

1999

Courtesy P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center

This summer, P.S.1's outdoor galleries will house a dramatic, colorful, multi-tiered DJ booth and dance pavilion designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson. The pavilion will serve as the central environment for Warm Up, P.S.1's second annual outdoor DJ series, which will fill the courtyard with music and dancing every Saturday from 4 to 9 pm throughout the summer.

The pavilion designed by Philip Johnson, founder and former director of The Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Architecture, is the first project produced by P.S.1 in cooperation with The Museum of Modern Art. The two institutions announced their intent to merge in early 1999 and see this project as representative of the dynamic possibilities of their combined future efforts. The collaboration brings together one of New York’s most distinguished and influential architects with contemporary art’s youngest, most energetic audience. “This pavilion captures the spirit of P.S.1’s summer festival. It’s a disco for the 21st century—a medieval amphitheater with a science-fiction feeling,” comments Philip Johnson.

Johnson's design consists of a single unified structure combining a DJ area, dance floor, bleacher-style benches, and platforms for sitting or standing. Striped bands of color chosen specifically for the project by Donald Kaufman run diagonally across the pavilion in chartreuse, chocolate, ultramarine, deep violet, acid green, and emerald green. The structure engages the distinctive diamond shape of P.S.1’s courtyard, creating an energetic zig-zag effect in contrast to the courtyard’s angular concrete walls. Five towers constructed of lightweight, galvanized scaffolding and aluminum mesh stretch as high as 56 feet into the sky, with banners flying from their tops. At Johnson’s request, Robert Isabell will serve as chief coordinator of production for the pavilion.

Philip Johnson, 93, has long been recognized as a defining force of modern architecture. His clean, inventive designs are distinctive features of the skyline of New York and of cities around the world. Johnson's installation at P.S.1 represents a departure from the institutional and residential architecture for which he is widely known and marks an opportunity for the architect to create a temporary, playful, social space.

"It's fitting that Philip Johnson organized the first collaborative project between The Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1," said MoMA Director Glenn D. Lowry. "As an architect, curator, and patron, Philip has always led the way, introducing new concepts and supporting new art."

"P.S.1’s mission has always been to provide opportunities for both emerging and established artists to execute projects that might not be possible anywhere else. Johnson’s pavilion, with its cool style, towering structures and purpose, is unique and wonderful,” states P.S.1 Director Alanna Heiss. “It’s truly a pleasure and an honor for P.S.1 to collaborate with such a talented and visionary artist."

Johnson’s installation provides a stylish setting for Warm Up, P.S.1’s second annual outdoor music series, which will take place every Saturday from 4 to 9 pm, June 20 through September 11. Last year Warm Up drew thousands of visitors to Long Island City to dance, hang out, and listen to live electronic, house, hip hop, rock, and experimental sound. While last year’s program included artists such as DJ Dimitri and Bob Sinclar, this year’s series will offer an expanded line-up through the combined efforts of organizers Jen Blauvelt, Tarra Cunningham, Russsell Haswell, Lo-Ki, and Lucien Samaha. A concurrent outdoor film festival will take place in the courtyard at dusk on Thursday evenings from July 15 through September 16.

“This music and film series is a wonderful offering for thousands of people and an example of what we can look forward to as a result of the successful union of P.S.1 with the Museum of Modern Art,” said Queens Borough President Claire Shulman.

“P.S.1’s summer programs and Philip Johnson’s eye-catching temporary structure will be a prominent feature of Long Island City’s cultural landscape this summer. I am pleased that P.S.1 will continue to bring visitors, expanded tourism, and business to Long Island City,” comments Walter L. McCaffrey, New York City Council Member, 21st District, Queens.

In October 1997, P.S.1 reopened after a three-year renovation designed by Los Angeles–based architect Frederick Fisher. The creation of the outdoor galleries and main staircase were a prominent feature of Fisher’s award-winning design. Since the re-opening in 1997, the outdoor galleries have housed sculpture by Richard Nonas, Gordon Matta-Clark, Austrian artist-group Gelatin, Donald Judd, and Ronald Bladen, among others.

 


The presentation of Philip Johnson’s pavilion at P.S.1 is made possible through the support of Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder.

Architecture: Philip Johnson; Color design: Donald Kaufman; and Production: Robert Isabell.