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!