Martin Creed: The Back Door

I had a fun, if not slightly unnerving romp around the Park Avenue Armory with friends last night. Artist Martin Creed took over the entire first floor of the Armory, creating an exhibition entitled The Back Door. He has been working over 20 years, and is known for his minimalist style. This interactive exhibition presented more than 25 installations, performances, and sculptural pieces to experience. Here is why it was a romp: we got to prowl all over the first floor of the Amory. We roamed in and out of the period rooms, and we discovered the bunkers at the side of the vast space that is the Wade Thompson Drill Hall. That alone would have been enough fun, but we encountered unexpected surprises like a room completely filled with white balloons, which we had fun squeezing our way through — shrieking when the static electricity caused them to spontaneously burst. A troupe of musicians moved throughout the space. Metronomes ticked. There was a white grand piano dominating the gorgeous Veterans Room. We stood staring at it, wondering why it was there, when SLAM SLAM SLAM! The top of the piano — which had been up — suddenly dropped repeatedly. Then for no apparent reason, it rose again and all was calm. But for how long? Which leads me to why it was an unnerving romp: the anxiety it caused. There were wide diagonal stripes painted on the wall, adding an ominous, threatening feeling to the lovely first floor hallways. A dark curtain repeatedly opened and shut. A back door did the same. There were videos of — ahem — body functions. Lights turned on and off — not to mention all that slamming and bursting. It was stressful and yet I had a great time. Kinda how real life can feel? Sorta?

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