Critics’ Picks

Hot Spot, 2005 (detail).

Basel

Mickry3

Groeflin Maag Galerie
Dienerstrasse 12
June 4–July 9, 2005

Swiss collective Mickry3's newest installation, at Groeflin Maag Galerie, offers a wildlife adventure, of a sort. Where the gallery's office and reception desk used to be, you'll find a babbling indoor fountain guarded by a cardboard meerkat and surrounded by lounge chairs shaped like gophers and jerboas. The artificial desert continues in the main gallery, where whole meerkat families flock around a lounge area called the “Hot Spot.” More pieces of furniture shaped like cute animals, such as desert foxes, invite you to pet them (as the gallerists try to get work done on their laptops). You'll also find artificial bushes and a cardboard boulder, which turns out to be a fully stocked bar. All in all, it's a very stylish and comfortable setting, somewhere between a trendy Internet café and a themed nightclub. An inviting place to hang out—except perhaps for those uncanny, evil-looking meerkats, which surround you alertly and distrustfully, with paint dripping from their eyes like blood. Mickry3 are known for their subversion of signs via the conflation of art and design, art and supermarkets . . . and now art and the desert. Tricky.