Carsten Holler Experience At New Museum: Encouraging Psychedelic Journeys In Public Spaces

If you live in NYC or are visiting it soon, get to New Museum by the end of the month if you know what’s good for ya!

Closing January 2nd is this amazing, amazing enveloping psychedelic sculptural Experience, presented by Germany’s Carsten Höller (now living and working in Sweden).

Where else will you see giant life-size multi-colored hippos? Nowhere.
Where else will you be presented with giant tri-shroom composites? Nowhere.

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This is, according to the New Museum website, “the most comprehensive US exhibition to date of the artist’s engaging work.” They continue by saying:

“The current show gathers together a number of the artist’s signature works in an arrangement that transforms the viewer’s experience of time and space. Originally trained as a scientist, Höller is frequently inspired by research and experiments from scientific history and deploys these studies in works that alter the audience’s physical and psychological sensations, inspiring doubt and uncertainty about the world around them. His work often draws on social spaces outside of the museum such as the amusement park, zoo, or playground, but the experiences they provide are always far from our usual expectations of these activities. Höller’s art takes the form of proposals for radical, new ways of living by creating sculptures and diagrams for visionary architecture as well as transportation alternatives, such as his renowned slide installations. These concepts may seem impossible in the present day, but suggest new models for the future.”


This Experience — and its title certainly cannot be stressed enough — is huge. It is a journey, a pychedelic one. You can take a mini photo journey below, thanks to images from Benoit Pailley, but this is obviously a joke compared to the real thing.

FOURTH FLOOR: MOVEMENT
Höller surprises visitors with the unconventional riding experience of a Mirror Carousel.

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THIRD FLOOR: UTOPIA
Giant Psycho Tank is a weightless sensory deprivation pool, giving those who don’t normally seek altered states of mind through such means a socially-acceptable forum to do so.

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SECOND FLOOR: HALLUCINATION
Through an Experience Corridor, viewers are given a choice to undertake a number of self-experiments. Wait, and what was this we missed on the New Museum website? “Over the years, the artist has employed psychotropic drugs, flashing lights, and other stimuli to potentially alter the viewer’s mental state,” it says. Think giant mushrooms. Giant. Mushrooms.

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Carsten Höller is onto something. Go and get tripped out before it’s too late. Thanks, sir, for bringing psychedelic art into the mainstream in such a bold and reality-whipping way.

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Vivian Hua is the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE magazine, as well as a master of globetrotting for free and evading traditional 9-to-5 work schedules. She enjoys observing human idiosyncrasies perhaps more than anything and is a magnet for homeless people (a joy) and bug bites of all types (absolutely terrible). Marshmallows – while not really food – are one of her favorite foods, especially if they are freezered, stale, or fire-toasted. She doesn’t want to space travel, really, which is an unpopular view these days. Her design work, astrological chart, and other crap can be seen at www.inallthings-patterns.net.