Likely the visitor leaving the sensory overload currently taking place at Museum of Contemporary Art will have strong reactions to what they’ve just seen and heard. That’s good, though, those reactions might not all be positive.
On opening night, the video extravaganza from Ryan Trecartin elicited a wide range of reviews, ranging from “awesome” to “I needed to get out of there.” Like the incredible Isaac Julien show at the Bass and Janet Cardiff at Miami Art Museum, this is another multi-video show that demands time. Unlike those previous two, this is one crazy, wild ride.
First, it should be noted that these same seven videos — many of them filmed in Miami throughout the last couple years — are simultaneously being shown at PS1, the 30-year-old Trecartin’s first big solo outing in the Big Apple (the “The New Yorker” and “The New York Times” already weighed in). Here at Museum of Contemporary Art, the darkened rooms are filled with a musical soundtrack created by the artist, while beds, in one room, serve as chairs. Put on the headphones, and a cacophony of almost nonsensical sentences from teenagers loudly yelling, taunting and childishly observing hits your eardrums. The visuals are as disconcerting — boys and girls in drag, painted in black face and white face, hyper-kinetically moving with colors bursting all around. The hyper editing — really well done — adds to the delirium. One of the films is 51 minutes long, another is 11. There are recurrent characters and (very loose) themes running throughout all of them, including starring roles for Trecartin. Other young actors and friends make up the rest of the casts. It’s really not necessary to try and describe the stories; they intentionally lose their threads and narratives. One involves a girl covered in blood, another a car ride in which a girl talks about sex, but they all mold together: gender, race and personalities morph.
Trecartin certainly caused a scene. Debate has already begun about whether he is the most original voice of a post-millennial young generation or a bright flash in the pan. Either way, he’s got people talking. Most likely you will, too, after experiencing — as that is what this is about — “Any Ever,” the name Trecartin gave to this surreal trip. Make sure you give it a whirl.
“Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever” at Museum of Contemporary Art, 770 N.E. 125th St., North Miami; 305-893-6211; www.mocanomi.org.