The New Museum in lower Manhattan is home to the first large-scale survey exhibition of the work of German artist Carsten Höller, a scientist-turned-artist whose works straddle the line between both worlds, often seeming more like an experiment than an exhibit. At the current exhibition, you can stick your head under a fish tank, wear inversion goggles, or float weightlessly in a sensory deprivation.
Carsten Höller began his career studying agricultural entomology, but after receiving his doctorate from the University of Kiel in Germany in 1988, he decided to seriously pursue his artistic inclinations, which resulted in exhibitions resembling laboratories rather than traditional art spaces. In his previous work, he fed a test group of reindeer hallucinogenic mushrooms and teamed up with the artist Rosemarie Trockel to create an exhibition where gallerygoers observed pigs through one-way glass. (The pigs remained inscrutable.)
In this latest exhibition, says Massimiliano Gioni, the associate director and curator of the New Museum, viewers become “test subjects, participating in an experiment.” By taking part in the exhibition, they become the scientific observer as well as the subject in Höller’s unique studies of human perceptions.
The New Museum will be hosting Carsten Höller: Experience at 235 Bowery in New York through January 15th, 2012.
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