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Art Interview: Peter Eleey + Queens, NY

Photo courtesy of Cameron Wittig

Peter Eleey, Curator, MoMA P.S.1 / Photo courtesy of Cameron Wittig

Starting this month, a native son returns to New York when Peter Eleey, former Visual Arts Curator of Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center, joins MoMA’s P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center as its Curator. Prior to his years at the Walker, Mr. Eleey was a Curator and Producer at New York-based group Creative Time, during which he helped produce large-scale and landmark exhibits, such as Doug Aitken: sleepwalkers (2007), which was also co-commissioned with MoMA and co-curated with P.S.1′s Director Klaus Biesenbach. Below, Peter imparts some insight on his new borough and his travel philosophy.

What should we know before we go to Long Island City / Queens?
That it is really easy to get to – just one stop from Midtown Manhattan.
 
Tell us what you are currently working on.
I recently came back to New York after three years in Minnesota [at the Walker Art Center] to become the Curator of MoMA P.S.1 here in Long Island City. Among other things, I’m working on a show about exhibitionism and voyeurism.
 
Are there any yearly Long Island City / Queens art events should put on our calendar?
Since 1998, MoMA P.S.1 has organized a hugely popular outdoor music series on Saturday afternoons called Warm Up, [which hosts] performances by international DJs and live acts including LCD Soundsystem, Kid Koala, Arto Lindsay, Scissor Sisters, Afrika Bambaataa, Richie Hawtin and DJ Delorean. Each year, a young architecture firm is selected to design an installation for the large outdoor space, which always makes for a great place to enjoy the party.
 
What is your favorite place to see art and where should we go to eat around there?
MoMA P.S.1 has been among my favorite places to see art for years, long before I came to work here. Housed in a Romanesque Revival building that was Long Island City’s first public school, the institution provides a unique home for the leading art of our time. Manducatis and Sage are both great for lunch. If you’re feeling adventurous, take the 7 train out a few stops to 74th St.-Broadway for Thai at either Sripraphai or Zabb on Roosevelt Ave.
 
What’s your perfect day out in Long Island City / Queens?
Lunch at Manducatis, a long afternoon of art, followed by a beer at LIC Bar. And if it’s summer: a burger and views of Manhattan at Water Taxi Beach, and a breezy ferry ride back to [Manhattan].
 
Any other “musts” to see and do in Long Island City / Queens?
Don’t miss all the other art in the area: SculptureCenter near MoMA P.S.1, the Noguchi Museum, and a bit north, places like the American Museum of the Moving Image, the Fisher Landau Center, and Socrates Sculpture Park on the [East] River.
 
Besides New York City, what is your favorite city to travel to for art and why?
Depends on the time of year. London in the fall, Los Angeles in the winter, and Berlin in the spring–because when you need to cover a lot of ground, the weather matters.

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