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Carsten Holler’s New Museum “Psycho Tank” Is Too Dirty for the NYC Department of Health

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Turns out that perception-warping artist Carsten Holler’s work (currently on view at the New Museum) might be a little too “experiential” for the city’s health codes — the Department of Health has decreed that no longer will groups be able to enter Holler’s “Psycho Tank” sensory deprivation chamber together. Everyone has to go in individually, mitigating the risk of water-transmitted diseases. Ew.

Originally, visitors to the museum could check out the “Psycho Tank” six at a time, as long as everyone in the party is willing to hang out bathing-suited (or nude) in a humid 10-by-10-foot plastic box. But that arrangement apparently turns the New Museum into a bathhouse — only the museum doesn’t have the proper permits to run such a seedy operation. As it turns out, the New Museum didn’t get any permits for the tank, though visitors have to sign a form saying that they don’t “have any communicable diseases or other adverse health conditions that could be transmitted by being in water with others,” reports the New York Post. So reassuring!

Will only letting in one person at a time really decrease risk of disease transmission, though? Wouldn’t the germs just lay in wait in the body-temperature water, waiting for their next victim to climb in? It’s up to museum-goers to take the risk. The city is investigating Holler’s other pieces at the museum for code violations, though we can’t imagine the slow-moving “Mirror Carousel” is much of a suspect. The 3-floor fall of “Untitled (Slide)” might make inspectors pause, though. [Village Voice]

Carsten Holler's "Untitled (Slide)" (2011) (image via artobserved.com)

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