Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Night at the Museum

Remember when the most fun you had at a museum was when you visited a Children's Museum? (the one at Navy Pier in Chicago was my spot). With all their interactive or DIY exhibits, you could run, play, build, scream and shout without getting a nasty glance from a security guard or being kicked out.

Well last night I got as close to those nostalgic feelings of being young again when I visited the New Museum on the Lower East Side. I always have trouble describing the type of art displayed at the New Museum so for lack of a better word I always use the term 'weird' art. Their official description is "a leading destination for new art and new ideas. It is Manhattan's only dedicated contemporary art museum and is respected internationally for the adventurousness and global scope of its curatorial program" (basically what I said).

Floor by Floor Map


I frequent the museum every so often but was overly excited to check out their latest exhibit by Carsten Höller titled "Experience." The main attraction of this exhibit was a two-story tubular slide with clear plexi windows twisting and turning from floor to floor. My roommate Shana and I sped up to the top and were the first in line for a ride. We loved the five seconds of childhood exhilaration so much that we rushed back up to get a second ride before the massive lines started to form.

The Mirrored Carousel

The 2nd attraction was none other than every little kid's favorite: the swings. The kid in me thought the ride would go higher and/or faster, but the adult in me didn't mind that it moved slower than molasses. It was nice to hop on and off and just rotate slowly. It was rather relaxing—especially after the thrills and spills on the slide.

Like the Dead Sea in the USA
The final attraction was said to be an 'out of body' experience. Unfortunately it was out of service during my visit, but that didn't stop me from playing 20 questions with the security guard to find out more about the piece titled Psycho Tank. Apparently visitors could "experience" the Dead Sea in 15 minute increments by float weightlessly in the water of a sensory deprivation pool.

Do Not Disturb the Animals

Bright Light White Walls
Other highlights (no pun intended on this one) included the visual sensory wall titled Double Light Corner with flashing strobe lights meant to create a hallucinatory experience. Taking inspiration from the zoo, as the artist often does, animal sculptures were created of polyurethane and scattered across the floor in relaxing or sleepy positions amongst the flashing lights.

Wondering what the best part of this whole night was? It was FREE. Every Thursday night from 7PM to 9PM the museum offers free admission. I can finally agree with those that say, "Money can't buy you happiness."

Places of Interest:
New Museum, 235 Bowery (at Prince St.), 212-219-1222
Exhibit runs through January 15th, 2012

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