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Jerry Saltz’s One Night Stand — with a Museum

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Night at the Museum: Look at those curves! Who wouldn’t want a one-night stand with the Guggenheim? By Jerry Saltz — Published Nov 9, 2008 in NY Magazine

I have always wanted to have sex in a museum. To me museums are ecstasy machines, places to experience rapture, and the real thing is the real thing. So I jumped at what seemed like an unbelievable chance to carry out my fantasy: an opportunity to spend the night with my wife on a rotating queen-size bed fitted out with satin sheets on the sixth ramp of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum. The work, Revolving Hotel Room, is Carsten Höller’s major contribution to “theanyspacewhatever,” a show devoted to the amorphous non-movement known as Relational Aesthetics. Höller’s “room” has no walls, is out in the open on a large round Plexiglas platform, and has a guard posted nearby. If you get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, the guard follows you. Intimacy under these conditions seemed dicey, but I had to try. And then, two days before our night in the museum, my wife’s travel plans changed. She was going to be out of town that night. D’oh!

Before I tell you about my personal happy ending, however, some thoughts on the show itself. This cheekily titled outing is devoted to a clique of artists who reengineered art over the past fifteen years or so. They created the most influential stylistic strain to emerge in art since the early seventies. Their impact can be seen in countless exhibitions. Yet “the anyspacewhatever” is less a celebration of these artists than it is an example of well-meaning but incompetent curatorial irresponsibility—further proof, if any is necessary, that while Thomas Krens gallivanted around the world, muddying the Guggenheim brand, he was also ignoring curatorial operations back home in New York.

To read the whole darn thing, click here.

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