The artist had holes cut through the floors
of The New Museum to create a two story tube slide.
Mirror Carousel (2005)
Carsten Höller at the New Museum
The lines for this exhibition start forming outside of the museum, wrapping around the block, then once inside, and after signing a waver, the wait for the slide can be another hour. Carsten Höller puts the museum visitor into experiences that affect every one of their senses, plus it alters their perceptions. The tube slide snakes through the museum at a little more than a 45% angle. That steep angle makes bodies speed through the tube as other visitors watch them zoom by. With another experience, the "Giant Psycho Tank" - sensory deprivation pool, Höller originally intended for 6 people at a time to go in and zone out, although 99% of the participants do not have swim suits with them, so this experience has also become all about skinny dipping. Six naked strangers would crawl in and float together, until the city said "NO!" Now the tank is limited to one person at a time, still mostly in the buff. Walking through the museum, you will find churping birds in a mobile sculpture of cages - slowly moving - propelled by the birds' movements, a mirrored carousel to ride, goggles which turn your world up-side-down, giant magic mushroom sculptures, a curving hall of disorienting and flashing lights, a machine which tickles your nose, a wall of LED lights and even a pill to take. Alice in Wonderland would feel right at home at this exhibition - visitors get an adrenaline rush, a meditative moment, disorientation, and beautiful sights and sounds to experience. What is art, but a delight for our senses?
Giant Psycho Tank (2000) Sensory Deprivation Pool
(From the press release.)
This is the most comprehensive US exhibition to date of the artist’s engaging work. The current show gathers together a number of the artist’s signature works in an arrangement that transforms the viewer’s experience of time and space. Originally trained as a scientist, Höller is frequently inspired by research and experiments from scientific history and deploys these studies in works that alter the audience’s physical and psychological sensations, inspiring doubt and uncertainty about the world around them. His work often draws on social spaces outside of the museum such as the amusement park, zoo, or playground, but the experiences they provide are always far from our usual expectations of these activities. Höller’s art takes the form of proposals for radical, new ways of living by creating sculptures and diagrams for visionary architecture as well as transportation alternatives, such as his renowned slide installations. These concepts may seem impossible in the present day, but suggest new models for the future.
Each floor of the exhibition explores a different general theme within Höller’s work to provide a carefully choreographed journey through the building and the artist’s oeuvre. The fourth floor focuses on the theme of movement—featuring the artist’s spectacular Mirror Carousel (2005), which provides riders with a notably different physical experience than the traditional fairground merry-go-round, while at the same time reflecting and illuminating the space surrounding it. The third floor gathers together works that seek to provide an altered or utopian experience of architectural space. For example, his Giant Psycho Tank (2000) invites viewers to float weightlessly in the water of a sensory deprivation pool, providing an out-of-body experience.
Over the years, the artist has employed psychotropic drugs, flashing lights, and other stimuli to potentially alter the viewer’s mental state. His new site-specific installation on the second floor, Double Light Corner, flickers back and forth on a central axis, creating an immersive, hallucinatory experience. The work is paired with a recreation of Höller’s Experience Corridor in which the viewer is given the choice to undertake a number of self-experiments. The sculptures, Giant Triple Mushrooms (2010), icons of the kind of personal exploratory journey that his work has always centered on, is also on view. Taken as a whole, Höller’s work is an invitation to re-imagine the way in which we move through the world and the relationships we build as he asks us to reconsider what we think we know about ourselves.
See our Postscript section for more photos of this Höller Experience.
Spartacus Chetwynd at the New Museum
The New Museum is presenting an installation and a series of performances by Spartacus Chetwynd. Taking place in a new exhibition space at 231 Bowery as part of the Studio 231 program, this is the first American museum exhibition by the London-based artist. Over the past ten years, Chetwynd and her traveling band of actors have realized a number of exhibitions and performances throughout Europe. Utilizing handmade costumes and sets, her work draws on a wide range of influences from film and television, literature, art history, and philosophy. As in her previous projects, her installation at the New Museum is designed specifically for this site and is activated by performances and direct interaction with the viewer.
Chetwynd invites viewers to enter a carefully choreographed world in which every decision they make has a range of political consequences. A number of Chetwynd’s projects embrace the theater of the street. Her project for the New Museum continues her attempt to create new collective narratives from diverse strands of culture.
The New Museum
235 Bowery, New York, NY 10002
(Sources:New Museum information and photos came from their website and Press Department some photos by Benoit Pailley. Information also came from a report by a participant in both exhibitions.)
Order your Thanksgiving
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Perini Ranch Mesquite-Smoked Peppered Beef Tenderloin
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Salt Lick BBQ Brisket and Secret Sauce
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(Source: Mail order meat recommendations came from Texas Monthly Magazine.)
More photos of Höller's "Experience" at The New Museum.
Photos courtesy of New Museum © Benoit Pailley
ARTSnFOOD All rights reserved. Concept & Original Text © copyright 2011 Jack A. Atkinson under all International intellectual property and copyright laws. Images are © copyright individual artists, fabricators, respective owners or assignees.