Carsten Höller at the New Museum
Last night, Ryan and I hailed a cab and headed off to one of our favorite museums for a party we’ve been waiting for.
We’ve been fans of the New Museum for a long time—just in the past year, we’ve gawked at massive George Condo paintings, hallucinated in front of Brion Gysin’s Dream Machine, and strolled around in wonder at Rivane Neuenschwander’s A Day Like Any Other.
All of the museum’s exhibition are riveting and most are even interactive. Höller’s show is no exception.
We spent a few minutes downstairs admiring our fellow partygoer’s costumes: one woman came as “Fall” (the season, not the verb!), whereas another earned extra bonus points for her take on Roy Lichtenstein’s Drowning Girl.
After sipping Bloody Eyeball and Apple Bobber cocktails, we headed upstairs to walk through the show.
Once we reached the fifth floor, we found Höller’s incredible Mirror Carousel and the now-infamous 102-foot-long slide that spans three stories of the museum.
We sat on the carousel first, which rotated slowly as the bright lights bounced off the mirrors onto its floor and ceiling.
The entire experience was fun and relaxing, made even more so by the live canaries chirping from a huge Calder-like mobile in the corner. As the bird flit arounds in their cages, the mobile moves.
The mobile is directly above the entrance to the slide. Throughout the party, the line for the slide crept around nearly the whole floor—the wait was more than an hour!
We’re going to go back and ride the slide on a less-crowded weekday, but we had a great time watching nervous folks, many in costume, take the plunge. (Although I doubt I’ll get to watch a grown man dressed as John Lennon or a woman as a panda slide down it again!)
It’s a big slide and has flashing lights and sharp turns, so I think even I’ll be a bit apprehensive when I finally give it a try. We heard a lot of people scream as they made their way down.
We got to watch people coming down the slide on the third floor, since much of the tubing is clear. The expressions were priceless and like I said, we could hear people coming as they screamed and laughed all the way down.
The third floor is also home to Höller’s Psycho Tank, a complete sensory deprivation tank.
Before becoming an artist, Höller was a scientist, so many of his works are rooted in experimental principles and intended to alter human’s sensory perceptions.
The exhibit also has upside-down goggles that you can walk around and wear and a light installation intended to make space flip back and forth before the viewer’s eyes.
Since the show is open until January 15, I can see myself spending many chilly wintry afternoons spinning around aimlessly on the carousel and, maybe if I get brave, floating in the nude in the sensory deprivation tank!