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July 10 2014

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Everyone Loves The Nineties

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By now, it’s been established that we’re in the midst of a nineties style revival (points of reference: the spring 2013 collections of Dries Van Noten, Phillip Lim, Dsquared², and House of Holland, just to name a few). But the art world is reliving the nineties, too. Earlier this month, the New Museum opened its NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star exhibition, which, named for a Sonic Youth song, features artwork that was exhibited or produced in New York in 1993 (like Matthew Barney’s drawings, John Currin’s Girl in Bed painting, and Art Club 2000′s Conrans I print, which shows Gen Y-ers surrounded by Gap bags—below). And today, photographer Marcelo Krasilcic memorializes the full decade with his show 1990s at Colette in Paris. (It coincides with the release of his book, Marcelo Krasilcic: 1990s, which Colette will fete on March 1.)

So why all the nineties nostalgia? “I think we’ve explored the eighties already. We have these generational moments, and twenty years feels like the right time to look back,” says Jenny Moore, one of the curators of the New Museum exhibition. But aside from the twenty-year mark, there are cultural similarities between today and the grunge era, which are ripe for exploration. For instance, health care and gay rights were climbing onto the political stage in the nineties. Today, they’re front and center. “A lot of what happened then—in terms of culture, fashion, and music—is still very much a part of our cultural discourse,” says Moore. The early nineties also marked the beginning of Rudolph Giuliani’s tenure as mayor of New York City, which many believe marked the end of the dirty, dangerous, free-spirited party that was old NYC. “It was the last hurrah for New York in this gritty, anything-is-possible moment.”

Krasilcic, who came to New York from São Paulo to study photography in 1990, concurs. “It really did feel like everything was possible,” says the photographer, who at the time was working with the likes of Dazed & Confused, Purple, and Self Service. “The distinction between art and fashion photography was really blurred, and the clothes were just an accessory to the idea that we wanted to talk about.” Not surprisingly, his favorite nineties subject was indie queen Chloë Sevigny (above), whose photographs feature in his show and book. Don’t call it a comeback—Chloë is one nineties icon who never left.

The New Museum’s 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star runs through May 26; Marcelo Krasilcic’s exhibition will be open at Colette from today through March 20.

Photos: Above: Marcelo Krasilcic, Below: Art Club 2000;

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Dept. of Culture