Much of the art on display in The Modern's newest exhibition doesn't belong in a museum. The very title, Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s, implies the art's original presence in the streets. Even today, after decades of moving the risky stuff off the streets and onto the white walls, the juxtaposition between some of the art and the expansive, pristine space it occupies seems disconcerting. And it's for just that reason that this is one of the best exhibitions you'll see this fall.
In the New York of the 1980s, before the sanitization of Times Square and Chelsea, artists weren't striving to be art stars or hoping for their big break with a commercial gallery. No, these artists were taking over abandoned warehouses, painting over subway advertisements, and using their art as social activism. It was rough, rebellious and raw.More »