Last Saturday, The Observer slathered on sunscreen and headed to Queens for Saturday’s installment of MoMA/PS1’s yearly Warm-Up series. Syd Tha Kid—the producer and sole female of recently infamous rap collective OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, or Odd Future, for short) was slated to be the afternoon’s main attraction. The group has made waves for their violent lyrics, replete with references to rape, torture and drugs. “Got that Virginia Tech Swag, shoot up your school and laugh, bitch,” raps one member on the song Swag Me Out. Think old-school Eminem meets Wu-Tang Clan meets shock-rock.
You can imagine our excitement as we entered PS1. “Would you like to talk to any of the artists?” a PR rep asked. Syd, we responded quickly. “That’s not going to happen,” she said.
“Unfortunately Syd wasn’t able to make it today due to… airline travel,” Warm-Up curator Eliza Ryan said hesitatingly. Syd, it turns out, had taken a bus from hometown L.A to San Francisco for a gig the previous day. She showed up at the airport to fly out for Warm Up and had no form of ID and wasn’t allowed to board the plane.
“Luckily it’s earlier in the summer and we’re going to do everything we can to get her back,” Ms. Ryan said.
Looking around at the audience, however, Syd seemed an unlikely selection. A decidedly clean-cut crowd escaped the heat in the galleries appraising the avant garde art, while couples pushed baby-strollers around outside lulling their privledged youngsters to sleep. How on earth did Syd get an invite to this institutional event?
It turns out Chris Chen, who works with Odd Future’s record label XL, is on the Warm-Up curatorial committee. Ms. Ryan was relatively mum on the controversy surrounding Odd Future. “Yeah, you know we talked about it,” she said.
Sad for missing Syd, we hid out in the Ryan Trecartin exhibit instead.