Carsten Höller: Experience at the New Museum

Before it closed this past weekend, I visited the Carsten Höller: Experience at the New Museum. More entertainment than art, the exhibit included a mirror carousel, a slide that cut through two stories of the museum, upside-down glasses, a relaxation tank, and some suspect pills you could take with water. I’m not sure if was a great exhibit or groundbreaking for the museum, but it was definitely an experience.

The start of the “experience” required the signing of many waivers and the receipt of a wrist band, which would allow you on the art rides. The line was a little ridiculous, so we did not in fact ride the slide, which is okay, because I’m a generally edgy person and you were thrown out into a room with a pounding strobe light and prone, soft-looking creatures:

Startling, right? My iPhone camera seems to have been freaking out a little with the strobe lights. Don’t stare too long at the edges of that photo… or at the walrus’ eyes.

We did ride the mirror carousel, which went slowly, but quick enough to make it a little nauseating with its swaying motion, as you stared into the rides above and below you. We also went into a room that made you look like a ghost.

If you rode the slide, you were also prey to the camera vultures (like me) as they waited for your figure to streak by.

I wasn’t able to see Carsten Höller’s installation of slides at the Tate in London, but at least from photos it looks like a little more exciting. Oddly, even with everything being geared towards interaction, there was oddly little exuberance in the exhibit. Maybe it was all the wristbands and lines. Maybe it was also that I was visiting near the end of the exhibit and things were looking a little beat up. Anyway, I am glad that I went, and it’s always exciting when a museum tries something a bit different. Now if they put a slide on the Guggenheim ramp, that would be exciting!

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