I added The 90’s vs. The 90’s panel at the New Museum as an event to art + culture, but at the last minute wasn’t able to make it there. Good for me, there was no lack of people I know who did attend and no lack of summaries/lashings/despairings on the internet in the days that followed. The panel was designed to consider the unique legacy of the 1990s and how the decade shaped our present. My coworkers’ first reaction was, “They didn’t talk about art,” which is unfortunate, since it was held at the New Museum. She also said that the moderator made the claim that Punk started in the 90s, to which no one seemed to react, although Punk certainly has its roots in the 70s and the hereafter. But for much of the panel, their thoughts on the decade in which they came of age inevitably turned nostalgiac. Who can blame them. And from my experience with panel discussions, no matter the topic, panelists always just start talking about themselves anyway.
But for those who are interested, there are many accounts of the sold-out evening to be found:
Gawker: “I stopped taking notes sometime around when they were discussing the 'imminent failure of rap rock as evidenced by the Judgment Night soundtrack,' because that about encapsulates the entire thing.”
Emdashes: “The purest vein of nostalgia for the 90s was expressed by Aaron Lake Smith, 25. To him, the ‘public conversation was more interesting,’ because, in its weird way, it was addressing ‘the roots of capitalism’—why did Columbine happen; Ross Perot and the ‘giant sucking sound’; the Zapatistas—as opposed to the sham of, say, today's torture ‘debate.’”
Leon Crawl: “At the end of the panel ALS got told, in an 'oh snap' kind of moment, to stop pretending he was living in the 90s. Which, OK, I guess he should stop doing that, but he should also think about whether he really likes having a zine and if so, why.”