Now at the New Museum: Carsten Höller and His Three-Story Indoor Slide!
Carsten Höller: Experience, now at the New Museum on Bowery, is pretty much guaranteed to give you the most flat-out thrilling time you’ll have at any art exhibition this year. Which we guess isn’t much of a stretch, considering that, if you choose to participate, and sign a waiver exempting everyone from any responsibility for any and all physical and emotional damage, you’ll go flying down a three-story, spiraling, screaming-fast tube of an indoor slide, right through the middle of the New Museum NY. Is it art? That’s up for you decide. But we will say that we had a blast on opening day, riding the slide as often as possible–the line was minimal and fast-moving–at Carsten Höller’s Experience.
Carsten Höller: Experience is a wild, exuberant, insanely interactive exhibition that takes up all four main exhibition spaces at the New Museum. The centerpiece of Höller’s Experience is the slide, of course, which he’s installed in other museums previously, most notably at the great Turbine Hall in London’s Tate Modern. But what makes the 102-foot piece at the New Museum different (and, we think, extra cool), is that it–and so, YOU–hurtles through the ceilings, so basically you’re sliding blind. You’ll be greeted at the end by strobe lights and applauding New Museum staffers. Feel free to shriek all the way down.
And Carsten Höller: Experience has plenty of other disorienting wonders as well, though none as worthy of an “awesome” as the slide. There’s the Psycho Tank on the second floor, a take on the sensory deprivation tanks on the 1970s, in which you can enter, naked or in a swimsuit, after showering, probably joined by strangers (six people are allowed in at a time), and float in the heavily-salted, body-temperature water. We declined to join in the public-naked-art fun yesterday, so can’t say for sure whether it’s worth undressing for and getting all wet, but several other New Museum guests told us they “loved it”.
Also at Carsten Höller: Experience at the New Museum is a mirrored carousel (we didn’t really “get” this piece, as it provoked only mild queasiness); and a bird-cage mobile, each housing a canary or four, all hanging over the slide’s entrance and providing nice ambient birdsong music while you wait on line. And we haven’t even mentioned the shape-shifting tunnel, the rubber neon animals, the immersive fish-tank, the thing that makes you feel like your nose grows, the mushroom room, and the upside-down goggles, for which you have to sign a second waiver because you’re about to go crashing into everything. Sure to a be a hit, all fall and through the holiday season.
Carsten Höller: Experience at the New Museum details
Carsten Höller: Experience at the New Museum runs from now through January 15, 2012. he New Museum is located at 235 Bowery, at the eastern end of Prince Street, and is open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., and on Thursdays until 9:00 p.m. Admission is free from 7:00 until 9:00 every Thursday night. Closed Monday and Tuesday. For more information, please the New Museum website, here.