We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
I have not asked a single German what he thinks of David Wojnarowicz‘s “Fire in My Belly,” from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek exhibit, because I have always assumed that Germany, being the birthplace of Nietzsche, Hitler, and Milli Vanilli, does not believe in God.
But now I suspect that the Germans would not be bothered Wojnarowicz’s exhibit because they love art even more than we Americans. Also, piss-play:
What could be more festive than spending a night locked in an art gallery with a dozen reindeer and a fridge full of psychedelic drugs? Soma, Carsten Höller’s current installation in a former railway station in Berlin, purports to be offering exactly that. A pen running the length of the Hamburger Bahnhof, now the city’s contemporary art museum, contains 12 reindeer, 24 canaries, eight mice and two flies. Giant toadstool sculptures are planted on a mushroom clock that the reindeer can turn with their antlers, and at the centre is a mushroom-shaped “floating hotel” – a bed on a platform complete with minibar, yours for €1,000 a night. (There’s also a raffle giving away free places.)
The twist is that this is meant to be a scientific experiment, in which half the reindeer have been fed “fly agaric” mushrooms, which they consume naturally in the wilds of Siberia. It makes their urine hallucinogenic (some people believe that this is the origin of the story of Santa Claus’s sleigh being pulled by flying, red-nosed reindeers).
The urine is collected by handlers and stored in fridges by the walls, which also hold both dried and fresh fly agaric mushrooms. By day they’re locked, but at night the fridges are opened, allowing people staying over to sample the contents. However, because only half the reindeer are fed the mushrooms, it’s impossible to know which bottles, if any, contain hallucinogenic urine.
By comparison, bugs on a crucifix is downright tame. And can you imagine the prudish outcry if a large publicly funded American museum gave away psychedelic deer piss?