Last summer, MoMA PS1 had to cancel its long-running concert series Warm Up for the first time in nearly 25 years. But this past weekend, the show went on, with its afternoon of DJs, live music, and general revelry.
The return was teeming with excitement, though it definitely felt a bit different than usual. Usually one of the season's most popular parties with around 4,000 people packing the courtyard of the Queens contemporary art museum, Warm Up 2021 has a capacity of about 750. All attendees also have to show either proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test.
The multiple bars and the excellent food service from Mina's were kept outside, and masks were required anytime you went indoors, whether to use the bathrooms, to see some art, or to relax in the spacious "cooling room" in one of the galleries on the museum's second floor.
Performers were moved from their pre-pandemic perch atop the steps to the large front courtyard where they were comfortably accommodated on Rashid Johnson's installation, the bright yellow Stage. This gave everyone plenty of room to distance while dancing, though the gravel ground does make for a less than ideal surface when really ripping it up.
The stage itself was framed by an artist collaboration called Wretched Flowers, which also nicely describes their work. Other new pieces out here this summer include Niki de Saint Phalle’s exultant fountain, a series of stained-glass collages by Raúl de Nieves, and a banner by Greg Bordowitz that reads "The AIDS Crisis Is Still Beginning." There are also exhibitions from Saint Phalle and Bordowitz inside the museum.
Warm Up performers on Saturday featured the DJ duo Joselo and Friedplatano, the many-membered rap crew Surf Gang, Patia Borja, Yung Baby Tate, and Jubilee with Nigelthreetimes. The music at Warm Up can sometimes get more experimental than dance-y, but this lineup kept things bumping for most of the four-hour show.
There are two more Warm Up parties scheduled this summer, on August 14th and 21st, but both are already sold out. In fact, all three Saturdays sold out an hour after tickets went on sale.