clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Inside the Orb of Insanity: Touring the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion

New, 1 comment

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

This morning we took a casual stroll around architect Zaha Hadid's orb of insanity, otherwise known as the handbag-inspired Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion. The verdict? It's not really an orb (more of a torus), but it's so much more insane than we could ever have dreamed.

Inside the pavilion in a sexy neon semi-dusk lurk twenty works of art by artists from around the world. When you arrive, you're led to a bench where an attendant puts an MP3 player around your neck and adjusts the volume. (They'll even put the headset on your ears for you, if you're into that sort of thing.) The player contains an audio tour by French actress Jeanne Moreau, who murmurs things like "Life is defined by forms" and "We are only skin" in a voice so smokey it makes Eartha Kitt sound like Minnie Mouse.

Moreau's narration is a little absurd but also totally seductive, and so is the art. Our favorite work: A dark room containing nothing but a puddle that's partly hidden under a partition. The water in the puddle reflects a Parisian cityscape, complete with a Chanel boutique, as if it's on the other side of the barrier. As you watch, the sun sets, the street lamps come on, and the city goes to bed. It's gorgeous. Less pretty (and less reverent) but more fun are the cardboard boxes in which video screens show naked people beating each other with handbags. We were also simultaneously amused and horrified by a video of women shooting Chanel bags with rifles, especially once we learned that the artist had gotten free bags from Chanel without explaining what they were for.

Is it worth visiting? No doubt. Will you be able to get in? Depends how much you want it. Tickets (which were free) are "sold" out, but they'll release an undetermined number every morning at 8 AM.
· Chanel Mobile Art [Official Site]
· Spacey: Chanel Pavilion Lands in Central Park [Racked]