The contemporary art venue, P.S.1, the cooler wing of the Museum of Modern Art, is housed in an enormous old public school building in Long Island City that is seemingly custom made for the presentation of art. There are endless classrooms, wide hallways, soaring ceilings, and unconventional spaces – like the boiler room, where you can see the work of Saul Melman, who covered the now defunct boiler in gold leaf, or a fenced-in stairwell, featuring trudging William Kentridge silhouettes.
The venue delivers a unique, nostalgic institutional atmosphere and a feeling that the structure organically grew out of the once intensely industrial area. Even aside from the successful summer Warm Up sessions, Young Architects Program installations and buzzing new M. Wells Dinette, it’s always an adventure to go to P.S.1 to explore its nooks and crannies, and to experience a strong curatorial program of art.
As with love, when art enters your life, it can shake things up, taking your world in new directions and laying out new priorities. This certainly happened in the Dorsky family, which collectively runs Dorsky Gallery Curatorial Programs, an organization that presents independently curated exhibitions of contemporary art in Long Island City.
It all started with Samuel Dorsky, who had been enormously successful as a businessman, then, in 1963, turned to what really interested him – art. Having built over time a sizable collection of modern and contemporary pieces, he opened a gallery, showing and selling works by Henry Moore, Richard Hunt and Willem de Kooning, among others, while building lasting relationships with the artists.
Image source: Fisher Landau Center for Art
Did you know you can have a quiet experience with works by renowned contemporary artists like Shirin Neshat, Carroll Dunham (father of Lena Dunham), Jenny Holzer, Kiki Smith or Ed Ruscha alongside pieces by Agnes Martin, Cy Twombly, Willem de Kooning and Andy Warhol right in the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City? You can do so because of the vision of Emily Fisher Landau, who, in 1991, took her enormous collection of over 1,500 modern and contemporary works, beautifully renovated an old parachute harness factory in Queens, and opened her collection to the public, absolutely free of charge, establishing the Fisher Landau Center for Art.
If you’ve gotten on or off the E, M, or R Trains at Queens Plaza, you may have noticed an old, elegant, tan-colored office building topped with a clock-tower situated across from the park, rising above the elevated curve of the N train.