Sue Scott Gallery

Warm Up and Chill Out in Queens

Peggy Roalf
PS1 Press Release, June 2007

On Saturday, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, in Queens, launches New York’s longest running dance party.  Warm Up, as the series of live music and DJ acts is known, has attracted thousands of visitors to the museum’s courtyard for 11 summers running.


This year, the space has been transformed by Liquid Sky, an installation created by Ball-Nogues Studio of Los Angeles.  Described by the architects as an “event design,” six 30-foot-high tripods support tent-like shelters made of shimmering mylar petals that create a carnivalesque atmosphere.  From atop the tripods, sprinklers timed to operate in synch with the music scatter cooling drops of water onto the crowd below.


In the adjacent outdoor gallery, two colossal gravity-operated tip buckets offer visitors a total drenching, accompanied by raucous sonic effects reminiscent of, say, a dragon roaring in his cave.  Between the drench towers, Droopscape, another net of luminous mylar petals, rustles in the wind.


The highly interactive multi-sensory environment is the result of a collaboration between the architects, Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues; structural engineer Paul Endres; water feature designer Jenna Didier; and Sheila Pepe, who sculpted the hammock-like seating out of cargo nets and ship anchor line.  Ball-Nogues Studio was selected by MoMA/P.S. 1 as the winner of this year’s Young Architects Program.


At the preview last night, Benjamin Ball pointed toward the turnbuckles and nautical line that pull the tents into their final form and said, “What was so enjoyable about developing this project was that we used very sophisticated digital media to design and test the models for Liquid Sky.  But in the end, the way we built it is based on a simple technology that’s used in rigging sailboats.”