This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



Marlborough installation consists of a series of rooms filled with mystery (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Marlborough Chelsea
545 West 25th St. between Tenth & Eleventh Aves.
Through October 27, free
stray light grey slideshow

In such installations as 2008’s “Hello Meth Lab in the Sun,” 2009’s “Black Acid Co-Op,” and 2010’s “Bright White Underground,” bicoastal artists Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe have transformed gallery spaces into labyrinthine series of rooms where some very strange things seem to have occurred. For their latest project, “Stray Light Grey,” continuing at Marlborough Chelsea through October 27, they are inviting visitors to explore the never-completed Pale Hotel, a mysterious (fictional) environment built around an intriguing alternate-universe counterculture movement. Visitors make their way through a maze of abandoned rooms, including a former OTB parlor, a (mad?) dentist’s office, a bizarre cake shop, a dingy bathroom, a store selling odd items, and a fancy library, each room’s history linked to the San San International, a convention that began in 1855 focusing on plants and animals but later got involved in the world of genetic engineering. “It is now truly without theme or cohesion, a fair ostensibly about everything and nothing at all,” explains the Stray Light Grey newspaper, which is available for free at the gallery. The installation is also related to the hallucinatory drug Marasa, developed in 1956 by Octagon Ethnobotanical Laboratories; the anarchist group known as the Artichoke Underground, proponents of the Octopus, a drug-computer synthesis that melds man and machine; Arthurocide, the plant-mineral hybrid that led to genetically modified organisms; and the Shade, an urban-gang consortium battling against the lasting influence of the Friedrich-Barris dynasty. Of course, you don’t need to know all of that to get a kick out of the journey, which, one could argue, is “ostensibly about everything and nothing at all.”

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