Pedro Reyes

Dare you enter Pedro Reyes' horror house?

Following his fine-art psychiatric clinic the Mexican artist creates a political haunted house for Halloween 2016

US presidential elections are held once every four years, on the Tuesday immediately after the first Monday in November. So, Election Day always falls quite close to Halloween. Political wonks have examined the coincidence, pointing out that, since 1980, the winner of every election has been the candidate whose masks prove most popular on Halloween.

However, this autumn, the Mexican artist Pedro Reyes will offer politicos and art lovers something a little more harrowing than a Trump or Hilary disguise. From 7 October until 6 November Reyes will stage Doomocracy, a “haunted house of political horrors” at Brooklyn Army Terminal in New York.




The piece, according to the public art body Creative Time, which is helping Reyes stage the work, “will distil the horrors of our political landscape into the form of a haunted house, inviting us to navigate a maze of near apocalyptic torments, from climate change to pandemic gun violence to Genetically Modified Organisms.”

This is not the first time that Reyes, who trained as an architect, has fooled around with immersive cultural tropes. A couple of years ago his roving, temporary psychiatric clinic, Sanatorium offered “short, unexpected therapies,” courtesy of the artist and his collaborators, to gallery goers across the world, where “the only way to experience the project is to sign up as a patient,” he explained.


Sanatorium by Pedro Reyes
Sanatorium by Pedro Reyes

This time around, Reyes is offering not pseudo-clinical cures, but real life terrors; as the artist puts it, “the new monsters are Monsanto and other companies that messing with the very essence of life.”

Doomocracy is unlikely to attract any wavering Trump supporters, though if you’re in New York and looking for a lighter, walk-in take on political satire, choose your mask and head along.

For greater insight into how a work like this qualifies as art, order a copy of Defining Contemporary Art, and for more on the therapeutic possibilities of art order a copy of Art as Therapy.