May 27 – July 30, 2011
“Fun is not fun!” Stranger critic Jen Graves’s complaint while visiting You Complete Me stuck in our heads like a koan. What is fun, if it is not fun? This show hoped to explore that mystery, building from the acquisition of Julian Hoeber’s Demon Hill, an installation based on roadside attractions like the “Mystery Spot” where rules of gravity and perspective seem no longer to apply.
We were thinking about the connections Hoeber’s work draws between high and low culture versions of the “derangement of the senses.” The fairground attraction and certain art installations are devices for altering perception: the hallucinatory properties of funhouse mirrors, the controlled terror of the spook house, the extremities of human existence on view in a freak show, the topsy-turvy gravitational effects of the rollercoaster. Installations by Hoeber, Carsten Höller, Jeppe Hein, Mungo Thomson took direct inspiration from popular amusements, while works by Martin Creed, Olafur Eliasson, Bill Fontana, Gareth Long, and Andy Coolquitt had more oblique connections, though addressing themselves, similarly, directly to the viewer’s experience. Most importantly, this show about fun actually was fun. Nobody could bear to watch the demolition of Demon Hill at the end.