We Came, We Saw, We Slid: Carsten Höller’s “Experience” at the New Museum
October 25, 2011
All images (c) Samuel Medina.
It was with bated breath that we went to sleep last night, excited to wake up and head to the New Museum for a preview of Carsten Höller’s career retrospective.
“Experience” is full of phenomenal wonders: stacks of white terrycloth towels sit awaiting visitors exiting from the high-saline content floating chamber, while at another moment, an aquarium sits at the apex of three low couches where museum-goers observe the schools of fish from below. There’s also a carousel, which almost feels like an afterthought, since it’s adjacent to the shiny metal entrance to the show stealing slide, which cuts down through the floors of the Museum, ending in a room of flashing fluorescent lights two stories below.
The show is a fascinating look into how the contemporary museum — even one designed by SANAA — becomes a mutable object in the hands of relational artists such as Höller. Large circular holes were sawn through the concrete floors of the museum to install the Holler-designed slide, which visitors are welcome to traverse as many times as they wish. Reactions varied to the expectedly speedy slide; whether or not you allow yourself to giggle when you’re spit out in front of a mass of photographers and onlookers is a good indicator of how well you control yourself in a crisis. There were more than a few shriekers. For the record, I chortled, Sammy was calm, and Kelly smiled.
Sammy is cutting a video of some of the show’s pieces right now, but we’d be loathe not to post a few of his spare images in advance. Go see the show early (it opens officially tomorrow), since it’s the New Museum will most likely be consumed by McQueen-at-the-Met level crowds over the next few weeks. Check back for the video this evening!