The central disappointment of these spaces is not that they are so narcissistic, but rather that they seem to have such a low view of the people who visit them. Observing a work of art or climbing a mountain actually invites us to create meaning in our lives. But in these spaces, the idea of “interacting” with the world is made so slickly transactional that our role is hugely diminished. Stalking through the colorful hallways of New York’s “experiences,” I felt like a shell of a person. It was as if I was witnessing the total erosion of meaning itself. And when I posted a selfie from the Rosé Mansion saying as much, all of my friends liked it.
Critics Notebook: The Existential Void of the Pop-Up ‘Experience’ by Amanda Hess, New York Times, 26 September 2018. The piece is subtitled “I went to as many Instagramable ‘museums’, ‘factories’ and ‘mansions’ as I could. They nearly broke me.”