Pierre Huyghe Releases Spiders, Welcomes Rats Into the Artist’s Institute

by Corinna Kirsch on February 27, 2014 Quick Hits

Inside the Artist's Institute. Photo courtesy of the author.

Inside the Artist’s Institute. Photo courtesy of the author.

Art galleries work hard to maintain their pristine white-cube image, but in New York few of them actually are. Despite Bloomberg’s clean-up regime, we still live in a dirty city with trash-filled streets and rat-filled subways. So why hide from that?

Pierre Huyghe’s Il y a opened over the weekend at the Artist’s Institute, and it makes the gallery hospitable toward some of New York’s lowliest tenants. Inside you’ll find a hole dug for a rat, as well as pheromones from a rat clitoris applied to the walls and floor. That’s meant to attract both rats and cockroaches. Cellar spiders were released into the gallery space, too.

At Friday night’s opening I didn’t see any rats or cockroaches, just two spiders scaling the walls, minding their own business. Given such a scene, I doubt that Huyghe’s plans will turn the Artist’s Institute into Joe’s Apartment; he doesn’t seem hell-bent on destroying the white cube. Instead, he’s testing for cracks in the art world’s facade, and we need more of that.

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