Steve McQueen


Those with a less-than-iron constitution may have come away from Steve McQueen’s recent exhibition feeling a bit queasy. The show had visitors spinning on a mirrored playground carousel, watching in silence as a house fell down, or sitting—it was better to sit—while Manhattan revolved around them in giddy triplicate.

The merry-go-round, White Elephant, 1998, is a sort of oversize praxinoscope, the early cinematic device whose rotating mirrors created the illusion of movement in a series of images. Sitting in a neon-lit, Barbie-doll-pink space, McQueen’s mirrored carousel splinters your body into multiple images unless you jump on and move with the thing yourself. The collapsing house appears in the short black-and-white film Deadpan, 1997 (first shown as part of MoMA’s “Projects” series), a reenactment of the Buster Keaton sight gag in which the front of a house falls down, leaving him

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