Risa Puno. Photo by Talisman Brolin.

Risa Puno to Create an Escape Room for New Creative Time Commission

For the organization’s first open call for commissions, New York’s Creative Time has selected artist Risa Puno’s escape-the-room project from a pool of more than six hundred proposals. Inspired by the popular interactive, puzzle-oriented game in which a group of people agree to be “locked” in a room together and collectively solve clues in order to work their way out, Puno will draw on the activity’s format of puzzles and riddles to examine social issues, such as how privilege and inequity manifest when people participate in the game.

“I have wanted to work with Creative Time for so many years—it’s basically my crush of an arts organization,” Puno said after she was awarded the commission. “The project I proposed is a complex undertaking with sensitive material, and there’s not a better organization I could imagine partnering with to bring it to life.”

Puno is known for her interactive sculptures and installations such as Please Enable Cookies, 2014, in which the artist offered passersby homemade cookies in exchange for personally identifying information, and The Course of Emotions: A Mini-Golf Experience, 2013–14, which took the form of a fully functioning golf course with nine holes featuring different emotional obstacles like “insecurity,” where players had to putt while standing on a wobbly seesaw platform. She was chosen by a committee of six individuals: Paul Ramirez Jonas, Spencer Finch, Risa Shoup, Rashida Bumbray, Pablo Helguera, and Stephanie Ingrassia.

Commenting on the decision to issue an open call, Creative Time’s executive director Justine Ludwig said: “In surveying the landscape of contemporary public art it became clear that many of the same artists are repeatedly receiving major commissions. We wanted to disrupt that narrative by opening up the opportunity to work with Creative Time to the next generation of greats working in the field.”

She added: “Risa shares Creative Time’s mission in presenting art that sparks dialogue and addresses the timely topic of social dynamics. Just as we feel the public is important in making art accessible, we believe that institutions such as Creative Time can play a major part in supporting emerging artists.”