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When we all smelled like teen spirit

RIGHT NOW ON the Bowery you can step into a time machine. It will carry you back to 1993 or thereabouts. It spreads over five floors in a great gleaming building, and to first acclimate you, a line of boxy Samsung televisions broadcast highlights from the year. This was before TVs were flat-screen or LCD or HD, when the initials that stood for high-tech – or any tech – in home entertainment were VHS. Here was a moment before the Internet was big, the World Wide Web did not exist yet (not really), AIDS was still “uncured,” Clinton had just been inaugurated, and it was a watershed moment for art.

This five-story teleportation device is an exhibit at the New Museum called “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set Trash and No Star.” Ignore the subtitle. It’s from a Sonic Youth album that doesn’t appear in the show and was, in fact, released in 1994. Though, I’ve read some pretty baroque interpretations of why it fits with such a close textual analysis they veer on New Criticism.

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