A Hermit Crab's Journey From London to Miami

Pierre Huyghe, Recollection, 2011, Frieze Art Fair

Pierre Huyghe, Recollection, 2011, Frieze Art Fair

If you were at the Frieze Art Fair in London last month, you might remember that one of the best displays was Pierre Huyghe’s aquarium featuring a hermit crab the artist got to take on a new shell in the shape of Sleeping Muse, a 1910 sculpture by Constantin Brancusi. The display was a bit out of the way in the Frieze tent, back by the restaurant, but once you found it you were well-rewarded: The Observer spent almost an hour one morning gazing at this obliviously artful crustacean as it skittered along the bottom of its tank, its beady eyes alert, its miniscule legs sweeping plankton–or whatever it is the thing eats–into its mouth with the antic speed of a little motor. If you watched it from certain angles, all you saw was a Brancusi on the move, which seemed like a potent metaphor, for something.

We were so taken with this strange creature that we got in touch with Mr. Huyghe’s gallery, Marian Goodman, immediately after Frieze to find out if there would be another stop on the hermit crab’s itinerary. It turns out there is. The gallery got in touch today and: Look out Miami. Next week the hermit crab’s new tank will be installed at Marian Goodman’s booth at Art Basel Miami Beach. (Or should we say, look out hermit crab? This is Miami; his brethren tend to come to a bad end in those parts…)

Here’s a video of the little world traveler.