This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.

The 90's at the New Museum

Cobain and co, via stereogum

For a decade that is almost another full decade behind us, the nineties remain mercifully undefined. Generally prosperous, and remembered chiefly for the mass culture debut of so-called 'alternative' music, the nineties may actually be remembered as the last moment before the internet shattered pop culture into many tiny pieces. In a way the absurd title of 'alternative' betrays an uncomfortable straddling that foreshadows what was to come. Alternative to what exactly? What sort of thing was being designated here? Certainly the most obvious absence at work in the popular imaginary of the nineties is the end of the cold war. For an event so historically important, it still sometimes feel as though it has yet to register in the minds of many Americans. Perversely, 'alternative' can thus be read as a sort free floating gravestone, marking the death of the last genre worthy of the title, albeit many thousands of miles away.

On Friday, the New Museum convenes an impromptu summit to determine what exactly we are nostalgic for when we pine for the nineties. Speakers include Michael Azerrad, Mark Greif, Emily Gould, A.S. Hamrah, Marisa Meltzer, and Aaron Lake Smith, The panel starts at seven. You might consider getting tickets in advance.