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Current Viewing: MoMA PS1 PRESENTS JEREMY SHAW: BEST MINDS

Jeremy Shaw: Best Minds Part One: 2007Jeremy Shaw: Best Minds Part One: 2007

Raf Simons would spasm in joy. Press Release after the jump

MoMA PS1 PRESENTS JEREMY SHAW: BEST MINDS

Jeremy Shaw: Best Minds
On View through October 10, 2011
3rd Floor Main Gallery, MoMA PS1

(Long Island City, NY — September 13, 2011) MoMA PS1 presents Jeremy Shaw: Best
Minds, a hypnotic, three-channel arrangement featuring slowed-down footage of the
crowd at a straight edge hardcore concert in Vancouver, Canada. The installation
will be on view until October 10, 2011 in the Third Floor Main Gallery during
regular museum hours.

Known for his explorations of altered states, Jeremy Shaw (Canadian, b. 1977) adopts
strategies from the realms of conceptual art, documentary film, music video, and
scientific research to address topics ranging from psychedelic drug use and brain
imaging, to teenage violence and time travel. In the work on view, Best Minds Part
One (Expanded), Shaw focuses on the fiercely DIY straight edge movement, a subset of
hardcore punk with origins in the early 1980s. Straight edge punks reject the
nihilistic tendencies associated with punk—namely alcohol consumption, substance
abuse, and sexual promiscuity.

Drawing upon his background as both visual artist and musician, Shaw replaces the
video's sound with an original score that quotes The Disintegration Loops (2002) of
avant-garde composer William Basinski, a series of sound recordings of deteriorating
tape reels that document the devolution of analog technology. An emphasis on
disintegration is also present in the low resolution of the footage, which was
recorded using a handheld digital camcorder under low lighting conditions. The
artwork's visual and aural decay, coupled with the simultaneous hysteria and literal
sobriety of Shaw's abstinent subjects, hints at Best Minds' titular reference to the
opening of Alan Ginsberg's seminal poem Howl (1955), itself a highly charged lament
and counter-cultural touchstone. The title also refers to a common straight edge
belief that their self-imposed 'clean' lifestyle is inherently a better one.

The melancholy tempo and tone of Shaw's ambient composition, combined with the slow
motion footage, transpose violent displays of macho ecstasy into meditative,
balletic passages. This exaggerated mode of presentation magnifies each of the slam
dancers' ecstatic moments, allowing viewers to closely identify and examine the
observable features of euphoric catharsis. And while the work takes as its subject
the uniquely sober state of straight edge punks, the three channels surround and
submerge the viewer, who as a result becomes not only an observer but also a
mesmerized participant.

Much in the way the hardcore music and slam dancing of Best Minds Part One
(Expanded) functions as an intoxicant that influences—or quite literally
mediates—the pictured revelers, Shaw's multi-media work employs video devices, sound
effects, and spatial manipulation to question the nature of active
transcendence-seeking while inciting an immersive, time-bending experience of its
own.

Jeremy Shaw is a Canadian artist based in Berlin with a multi-faceted practice that
includes video and film, sound, photography, sculpture, and performance. Shaw
received his B.F.A. from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver, BC and
has recently exhibited in Cities of Gold and Mirrors at Julia Stoschek Collection in
Dusseldorf, DE; Based in Berlin in Berlin, DE; The 2011 Montreal Biennale in
Montreal, CA; and Storming Heaven (From Home) at Everest in Zurich, CH. Upcoming
solo shows include Real Gurnersat Autocenter in Berlin, DE, and Unseen Potentials at
Blanket Gallery in Vancouver, CA.

Jeremy Shaw: Best Minds is organized by Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1 and
Chief Curator at Large of The Museum of Modern Art

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