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Mass. Disaster Area

makes clearTimes
Called "Training Ground for Democracy," the installation is intended to draw a viewer into a Grand Guignol maze in which artifacts of everyday Western culture--a movie theater, a home, a voting booth--are jammed together with scenes that seem to have been airlifted from a land of perpetual war and paranoia. In a recent walk through the space, the big elements, like the houses and the tanker truck, were striking.

Mr. Büchel was also concerned with the appearance of even the smallest detail, like a soiled rag hanging near a jail-cell sink or a dusty bag of sunflower seeds atop a television set. As the project grew, the museum says, this kind of obsessiveness began to have its costs. Even by the time the show should have opened, it had run well over budget, including $100,000 alone for the installation of the two-story house, which had to be cut into pieces and reassembled.

The museum bought a second mobile home for the space after Mr. Büchel disapproved of the first one; it reassembled the complete interior of a defunct movie theater, including the wallpaper and carefully numbered ceiling tiles; and it decontaminated the oil tanker, which had once been filled with No. 6 fuel oil.