Last Thursday, ARCHITECT dropped into Wendy’s press opening, where MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach, MoMA curators Barry Bergdoll and Pedro Gadanho, and HWKN principals Marc Kushner, AIA, and Matthias Hollwich introduced us to their new leading lady. The Thursday comments targeted architects, addressing the titania nanoparticle spray, the history of the Young Architects Program, and approaches to sustainability. But two days later, when the temperature registered 95 degrees, ARCHITECT returned to the courtyard to gauge public response.
"I like it because it’s so blue, and it’s this interesting tetrahedron shape—and it’s so shaded," said Jane Wilson, who was visiting from Oxford, England. "It makes me think of someone like Anish Kapoor because it’s active. To be honest, the fact that it’s designed by architects instead of artists is what makes it most interesting to me. Totally. Mostly, I just don’t think they’ve got the skills that engineers and architects have got. I like art that shows skill, from whatever period. Sometimes art just shows a vague idea, and we all know there’s lots of vague ideas running around the world. This seems like it has skill."
Some visitors had visited previous Young Architects Program pavilions in MoMA PS1's courtyard. "I remember a couple of years ago, PS1 had architecture that was supposed to be self-sustaining and greening. It was a whole green thing," visitor Reggie Johson said. "So it seems, without knowing anything about this thing—I see the fans, I see the water—it seems to be something talking about regeneration. That’s what I think, at least." He's right, of course, Wendy's blue skin is coated with a titania nanoparticle spray that neutralizes air pollution.)
Other visitors just happened upon the opening. "We were just across the street, but my nephew had to use the bathroom, so we came in here. He was so jaded through the whole museum, but as soon as we got out here, he saw there was water, and it got him interested," visitor Kim Hafner said. "He probably has no idea what he’s seeing, but he’s having fun. I love that it’s functional, and that it’s not just a piece."
To read more public reactions, click through the slideshow above. Wendy will be on view until Sept. 8.