Video projections of rainforests and volcanoes were the fitting and trippy backdrop for last weekend’s three-night run of shows by Cody Critcheloe’s nouveau-punk, queer-hippie band Ssion at MoMA PS1. Temperatures at the art mecca in Queens rose quickly as the Kansas-based collective presented songs from their new album, Bent, supported by a shiny coterie of guest performers, most memorably a buff and smooth Casey Spooner, who delivered a gyrating interlude wearing only a black euro-thong, gun holster, and cowboy hat.
The theatrical set was loosely inspired by riot-grrrl culture, “dieting and dying in L.A.,” and an underwater dance club, hence the retro swimsuits and bad yellow wigs sported by two male dancers. Bad wigs are in fact a Critcheloe trademark. The artist likes to say he doesn’t really care about fashion: “I’m just into looks that are wrong.”
In any case, it was a perfect art-cum-pop spectacle for the electrified young crowd, which seemed to consist of rowdy lesbians, gorgeous boys in seriously glam get-ups and unwashed, genderless hipsters bused in from deepest Bushwick. Even seen-it-all types like Adam Dugas (Spooner’s beau) and Klaus Biesenbach (PS1 Director) ended up bouncing and bending in a sea of sweaty fun.