Giant Psycho Tank
Upon entry to the show, a series of legal waivers are the first indication that curator Massimiliano Gioni and Höller have much more in mind than mounting a hum-drum mid-career retrospective. The Back To The Future-esque ‘Upside-Down Glasses’ that are handed over, once you’ve surrendered a credit card, confirm that you’re not in Kansas, or the Met, anymore.
The largest show to date of Höller’s work in America, “Experience” spans the museum’s four gallery floors, imbuing the SANAA-designed building with a carnival-like atmosphere. The journey begins in the glass-walled gallery at the rear of the ground floor, which houses a series of ascending spliced mushroom sculptures. Viewed through the looking glasses, they provide a substance-free psychedelic experience.
Untitled (Slide), 2011
While the third and fourth floors are stocked with a series of attractions, such as one of the artist’s famous tubular steel slides, Untitled (Slide), for which the museum had to cut through two concrete floors in order to install, and his slow-mo Mirror Carousel — the second floor is where the trip gets most intense. Höller’s dizzying strobe-effect light installation, titled Double Light Corner, creates the impression that the room is moving, while an exotic menagerie of neon polyurethane creatures that make up Animal Group nap on the ground with their eyes open. Around the bend, Aquarium invites viewers to rest their heads in the interior space of the tank, allowing for a fish’s eye perspective, and creating an unexpectedly touching identification with the school of ides swimming around.
Mirror Carousel, 2005
The length of rooms to the right of the tank, a reiteration of the artist’s Experience Corridor, each contain a different self-administered experiment, the highlights of which include Love Drug (PEA), a vial of phenethylamine that can be unstoppered and sniffed, and The Pinocchio Effect, a vibrating implement that, when applied to the bicep or tricep, purports to create the feeling that one’s nose is growing. Some experiences didn’t ‘work’ as expected for many visitors, but this potential disconnect is essential to the show’s methodology, which upsets the dictatorial order that characterizes most museum exhibitions. The artworks on display aren’t there to be venerated — they’re intended to be played with, and in the process, to have their value determined by a personal litmus test.
Giant Triple Mushrooms, 2010
The adjective that best applies to “Experience” is rarely applicable to contemporary art: Fun. Höller demystifies his practice by imbuing his work with a generous dose of childlike wonder, over-and-under stimulating our sense organs in order to gently destabilize our perceptions and expectations. It’s rare to see a museum-going crowd so engaged with, and empowered by an exhibition. Perhaps the show’s greatest gift is its emphasis on the viewer’s role as co-creator of his or her own reality. “Experience” is what we make of it. Instead of shining a spotlight on his own artistry, Höller celebrates ours.
Sameer Reddy is an artist based out of New York City. sameerreddy.net
Photos: Benoit Pailley
Illustration by Cecilia Carlstedt
Still life by Pamela Cook; Illustration By Cecilia Carlstedt
Anton Yelchin (left) plays Jacob and Felicity Jones plays Anna in Like Crazy
The story is simple enough: a smitten British exchange student (newcomer Felicity Jones) writes a multi-page letter to her American boy crush (Anton Yelchin), sticks it on the windshield of his car, and first blush love ensues. The camera steeps the viewer in a flutter of gazes, whispers, laughs and oxygen-cutting kisses, all so deliriously addictive that the heroine overstays — and thus violates — her visa in order to spend the rest of summer by his side in California. Though Anna and Jacob love each other “like crazy,” immigration issues, the physical distance between Los Angeles and London, and the wiles of more convenient partners (enter the white-hot Jennifer Lawrence), make their relationship achingly impossible. It’s an impediment that traps the next seven years in a series of long-distance courtship starts and stops.
What drew you to the film?
I received the outline in my flat in London, sat down in one sitting, and read it in one go. I loved the tone of it, and the idea of improvising a film was really exciting. I had never realized it was a way of making a film, of actually improvising directly to camera.
And your character must have been attractive to play.
Yes, what really drew me was the combination of the film’s style and the character. I loved how impulsive she is at the beginning; the girl is the one pursuing the guy, which is so unusual because we see it all the time it’s the other way around. I thought, “There’s something about this girl!” She acts on her emotions, which is sometimes hard to do.
Felicity Jones as Anna
You were also able to develop the role, since we see you grow from the age of 19 to 26. What changes did you want for Anna?
I wanted her to get more serious as she becomes concerned about her work and being a successful journalist, which obviously dictates her character in some way. I think a lot of working women understand this predicament of wanting to pursue your job and be good at that, but needing to combine that with having a relationship.
Are you similar in that sense?
To find the reality of the character, you have to look at the similarities and the differences between the two of you. With Anna, she’s much more forward and impulsive than I would ever be -- I tend to be more indecisive and take my time over things. She’s quite reckless and truly romantic, and she’s obsessed with Jacob. I wanted to understand why she would be like that, and I think the key is that she’s from a very secure background; she has two loving parents who have given her a sense of freedom. All those things are what make a character interesting for an actress.
The trailer for Like Crazy
Tell me about rehearsals. For an actor without lines to memorize or marks to hit, what becomes your touchstone?
The main thing was to just spend every minute of the day with each other so that we could be as comfortable as possible. In the first week especially, we would get In-N-Out Burger — Drake and Anton are very passionate about their In-N-Out — and just sit in an office and chat.
In between, we would be rehearsing and repeating the scenes until we learned to listen. The key with improvisation is not to speak too much and to trust that the right words will come. The words always come when you listen, and so it was just getting into a rhythm for Anton and I so that we would be listening and responding directly to each other. Then, to be under the covers and to speak intimately, we would be relaxed and feel like we could take risks.
Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones in Like Crazy
And many of the scenes seemed to play themselves out on a pre-verbal level.
Yes, and that’s my favorite kind of acting. I love it when people are not saying exactly what they’re thinking, because that takes away all the mystery from the character. In life, we don’t say exactly what we’re feeling and thinking; we’re often quite false in our words. The real truth is conveyed in our eyes. Before I did Like Crazy, I watched Emily Watson in Breaking the Waves. Her performance had a subtlety to it; it was a great inspiration for this film.
You mentioned Emily Watson. Who else has influenced your acting?
Emily Watson I adore. I love Annette Bening, especially in The Grifters. Also Angelica Houston and Helena Bonham Carter. I like female actresses who aren’t scared to be unattractive, where vanity isn’t dictating their choices.
Did you expect audiences to respond so well to this film?
I think the ambiguities and intricacies of a relationship are something every human being can understand. The portrayal of relationships is often very idealistic, and so to see a film that is still funny and not depressing, but tries to understand the reality of loving another person, people seem to respond to that. There are no gimmicks or pretense — no flying monkeys or anything — just people in rooms talking.
Like Crazy opens in theaters October 28.
© 2011 Paramount Pictures and Indian Paintbrush Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Mix Master: Courtesy Of Prada
Still Lifes by Pamela Cook
From left: Joy Philbin, John McEnroe and Regis Philbin
Such was the case Tuesday evening when the Alzheimer’s Association held its annual Rita Hayworth Gala, this year sponsored by Rolex. The theme was Hollywood Glamour and aside from the actor and starlet mentioned above, there were odes to this dictate amongst the hundreds of guests: sequins, sparkle, fur and—let’s be honest—cleavage were plentiful.
During cocktails, guests could peruse a silent auction that boasted a range of lots from dinner for four at Rao’s (starting bid $500), a Dennis Basso chinchilla capelet valued at $25,000 (starting bid $5,000) and a bespoke suit.
“He’s pretty!” said one woman to her husband of the blonde model showing off one of the results. Ahh, the power of advertising. . .
In another room, there was even a customized Savoir luxury bed up for grabs (valued at $20,000) and a photographer whose soul job that evening was to snap curious bidders in, umm, bed.
“I don’t think we’ll give our names,” said one man after he and his date posed. “That didn’t work out so well last time.” I’ll take your word on that.
Aoki and her fiancé James Bailey were rather adorably inseparable throughout the evening, beginning with her wiping his lips multiple times post step and repeat shots and his refusal to let go of her derriere. When they headed into dinner—held in a room canopied with black and white strips of fabric, to match the black and white striped tables, complete with black umbrellas—they danced to the live band playing Beyonce’s "Single Ladies" (it’s probably more fun to do that when he DID put a ring on it).
From left: Devon Aoki and James Bailey; Victor Garbor and David Hyde Pierce
The actual meal boasted dishes inspired by classic Hollywood moments—Iceberg lettuce with buttermilk dressing and bacon from Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier’s wedding menu; Beef Wellington from Joe’s Brooklyn Restaurant in Rita Hayworth’s 1944 film Cover Girl—but before guests could even finish their appetizers, the proceedings were under way. First, Patty Smyth performed “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” and “The Warrior.” Then Garber and David Hyde Pierce saluted the Claudia Cohen Initiative (Garber lost both of his parents to Alzheimer’s). And Hyde Pierce announced that an anonymous donor had agreed to match the first $50,000 raised that night.
Patty Smyth performing
The charity’s founder Princess Yasmin Aga Khan (also Hayworth’s daughter) introduced Somers Farkas who was honored with the Rita Hayworth Award, first with a video salute from her fellow Virginian Senator Mark Warner (he did so with an American flag in the background). Mindy Grossman of HSN won a Corporate Award. And somewhere along the way the beef wellington showed up in front of us.
Charles Askegaard and Georgina Pazcoguin performed to “Putting on the Ritz” (somewhat bafflingly on a small stage versus the larger dance floor) before gala chairs Anne Hearst McInerney and Jay McInerney oversaw a live auction of two special lots, guitars from Roger Waters ($13,000) and Glen Campbell ($8,000).
“I really want a drink, but I’m afraid to put up my hand because if I do I’ll end up with a guitar,” said one of my tablemates.
From left: Patricia Clarkson; Mindy Grossman and Somers Farkas
The dancing commenced soon thereafter before dessert was even served, much to Patricia Clarkson’s delight. The actress, in a red tartan Douglas Hannant gown that she proudly told me they had to take in off the runway model’s measurements (honestly, that alone deserves an award. I am dead serious.), was having a ball taking in the panoply of interpretative moves going on in front of her.
“I love watching rich people dance,” she said, without a hint of sarcasm.
Photos: PatrickMcMullan.com / Adriel Reboh
Asia Chow (above) may just be one of the coolest 17 year-olds you’ll come across. Yes, the cards were stacked in her favor, as the daughter of famed restaurateur and art collector Michael Chow and his former fashion designer wife, Eva. But while this Los Angeles native’s clothes choices are impeccable—Balenciaga and Lanvin shoes and the perfect baggy jeans—it’s her old soul attitude that’s really worthy of attention. How many high school seniors do you know who still buy proper vinyl and consider Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon one of their most prized possessions?
Here Chow fills us in on her love of Leonard Cohen, her newfound passion for classical guitar and why everyone should walk to their own style beat.
Define your style in three words: Feminine, contrasty, young.
Daily uniform: Baggy jeans, with a fitted t-shirt or a concert t-shirt, and my mom’s vintage scarves.
Favorite concert tees.
Chow's vintage scarves from her mom.
Greatest hits: Besides Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, my Comme des Garçons tail jacket with pearls on the inside. My mom’s dress that she designed: bias cut silk cream dress by Eva Chun.
Preferred footwear: Black or white Repetto ballerinas, Balenciaga sandals, Lanvin satin evening heel, Converse All Stars.
Azzedine Alaia heels.
Finishing touches: Scarves (my mom has been collecting them for me since I was very young) and a gold heart necklace.
A beloved gold heart necklace.
Nighttime look: Red lipstick.
Best recent discovery: Classical guitar. I’ve always listened to classical music and I’ve been playing blues and rock music for a few years, but I just bought a classical guitar and I love the classical pieces I am learning.
Favorite stores: I like to go to Amoeba Records to get vinyl, Books & Books in Miami, True Tone in Santa Monica is where I got my guitar from, Hermès Men’s Made To Measure Department in Paris (it’s not for me to shop but for me to watch my dad get suited).
Style pet peeve: I don’t have one. Each to their own.
Style icons: Audrey Hepburn, David Bowie, and my mom.
Last purchase: Leonard Cohen’s Book Of Longing, and about four Leonard Cohen vinyl records.
A Leonard Cohen Beautiful Losers tee.
Lusting after: A good university.
Favorite haunts: Mr. Chow; The Hollywood Bowl; LACMA; Laduree in Paris; Shinsegae department store in Korea.
Photo: courtesy of Giovanna Battaglia
Still lifes by Pamela Cook