Happy-Go-Lucky Exhibit

Happy-Go-Lucky is now open at 32 Mercer St. until August 18.

By Aharon Nissel

When you step into the unmarked entrance of Happy-Go-Lucky you’ll probably be a bit confused, as we were. In fact, we even walked right past the Mercer St. entrance without noticing it! But the unassuming lobby is the complete opposite of the colorful, diverse, immersive rooms that make up the Happy-Go-Lucky Exhibit, which opened in June. Each room has a different theme, so you can take tons of unique photos. It’s essentially a selfie booth on steroids.

Some of the rooms work better than others. The coolest are by far the “Diamond Room” and the “Kaleidoscope Room.” In these rooms, lights and mirrors work together to create wild effects. With your image reflected on the various surfaces, combined with the constantly changing colors, there are an infinite number of distinctive photos to take.

But some of the rooms just don’t work as well. Like the “Magical Forest” which features a few arrangements of (fake) tropical flowers, and five TV screens that show your image. The concept itself is cool, and the flowers are pretty, but there isn’t really a good way to capture the entire scene. If you’re too far back to include the flowers, then you can’t see what’s on the screens, and if you go close enough to see the screens, you miss the flowers.

And there are some that are just bizarre, like the room where you pose on a giant conch shell surrounded by paper flowers, or the giant silver clam shell, where you pose with a giant pearl. But these rooms are also great opportunities to get creative, and you’ll end up with really original pictures.

Then there are lots of smaller arrangements that aren’t quite full rooms, but are still opportunities for a quick snap. Like one hallway that just has three low hanging chandeliers and another that just has a grid of paint sample cards.

For someone like me, who doesn’t have such a strong social media presence and doesn’t really take selfies, I still had fun. My friend and I had a great time goofing around and taking silly photos. Would I go back? Nah. But am I glad I went? Absolutely.

This is far from the first of these so-called “immersive art exhibitions” that are really just glorified photo ops, and it’s uncertain how long they’ll last. While the enterprise seems good enough on paper (people do invest a lot of money into getting the perfect photo), it’s not clear if in practice it’s really effective. My friend and I were the only people there when we went. And with the costs of prime NYC real estate, one begins to consider if these types of pop-ups are really worth it for the businesses.

So yes, the exhibit is mostly geared towards “influencer” types looking for Instagram likes, but if you’re willing to loosen up, step out of your comfort zone and strike a wild pose, you may have a good time, and even end up with a new profile pic!

Find more information and buy tickets HERE.

Immersive pop-ups are back starting with Happy-Go-Lucky