now on view in Miami

Superfunland: Journey Into the Erotic Carnival

New York City Miami

“The main importance of the fair is not so much for merchandize and the supplying what people really want; but as a sort of Bacchanalia, to gratify the multitudes in their wandering and irregular thoughts.”
— Henry Morley, Memoirs of Bartholomew Fair, 1859


Super Funland: Journey into the Erotic Carnival examines the sexual history of the carnival, inviting visitors to explore its bacchanalian origins in ancient Greece and Rome and its evolution in pre-industrial Europe and the “midway” of the great World’s Fairs of the 20th century. An historical exploration of carnival’s roots is accompanied by an interactive exhibition of thirteen erotically-charged games and amusements that allows visitors to lose themselves in the carnality, decadence, and joy of a reimagined carnival.

Fairs and festivals have served as outlets for hedonism throughout history, allowing revelers to experience decadent pleasures and, quite often, vice. Following the Industrial Revolution, fairs and festivals began to be carried out at larger scales in the form of traveling carnivals and expositions. Millions of visitors would make pilgrimages to the World’s Fair, where exhibitions on the midway ranged from famed designer Norman Bel Geddes’ topless “Crystal Lassies” to a primitive version of a sex robot. In 1939, Salvador Dali designed the “Dream of Venus” pavilion to promote Surrealist art, featuring bare-breasted performers who posed in bizarre tableaus and dove into large water tanks in an aquatic fantasy of subconscious reveries.

Carnivals and fairgrounds have long drawn on the subconscious, serving as sites that celebrated repressed desires, promiscuity, and rebellion against sexual and societal norms. In an exploration of carnival’s roots, Super Funland opens with the living history of Al Stencell, who “joined the circus” at age 11 and documented the midway’s underbelly of burlesque, strip, and girlie shows along the way. The exhibition then transitions into an immersive 180-degree cinema, where a film further illustrates the carnival’s origins, followed by “Stardust Lane,” a forty-foot erotic kaleidoscope where six dioramas depict examples of erotic moments from the World’s Fairs and Coney Island. One of the most notorious meccas of the pleasure principle, Coney Island emerged in the 19th century as a veritable city devoted to hedonism. A variety of amusements encouraged licentious behavior, with headline attractions such as the “Blowhole Theater,” which exposed the lower halves of skirt-wearing visitors. Upon visiting New York in 1909, Sigmund Freud himself purportedly said that “The only thing about America that interests me is Coney Island.”

Super Funland occupies four galleries and features thirteen original commissions created by internationally celebrated artists and designers including Bompas and Parr, Droog, Bart Hess, Rebecca Purcell, RuPaul, Snøhetta, and more. Inspired by the educational, artistic, and purely salacious aspects of historic midway attractions like Salvador Dali’s Dream of Venus, these interactive installations reimagine the illicit thrills of the lost world of traveling carnivals and fairs for a new generation of pleasure-seekers, blurring the lines between exhibition and attraction for an unforgettable experience. Highlights include a 4-D immersive ‘Tunnel of Love’ ride, a biometric kissing booth that measures passion between partners to award prizes, an erotic fortune-telling machine with an appearance by RuPaul, and an elaborate climbing structure leading to a two-story slide that empties into the Museum’s carnival bar. These attractions and curiosities have been created in partnership with One:Night hotel app, Sonos, We Vibe, Lelo, Kangaroo, Bella, Cowgirl, and Felix & Ambrosia CBD.

The Museum of Sex thanks its sponsors:


The Cowgirl

Felix & Ambrosia



One Night





Daniel Gluck, Founder and Director, Museum of Sex


Serge Becker, Artistic Director, Museum of Sex


Daniel Gluck, Founder and Director, Museum of Sex
Serge Becker, Artistic Director, Museum of Sex


Lissa Rivera, Curator, Museum of Sex


Joanna Ebenstein
Amy Herzog, Ph.D.
Helen King, Ph.D.
BJ Lillis
Jeffrey Stanton
Vanessa Toulmin, Ph.D


A. W. Stencell
Arch, NYC
Bart Hess
Bompas & Parr
Johnathan Rosen
Mario the Magician Party
Rebecca Purcell
Sam Lanyon
Snøhetta Thys
Zev Barrow


Joey Agostinacchio, Graphic Designer
Heather Ayers, Production Manager
Feiyi Bie, Exhibition Designer
Inês teles Carvalhal, Curatorial Assistant
Cletis Chatterton, Production Manager
Ben Clawson, Creative Consultant
Damla Comert, Exhibition Design Assistant
Lasaro Flores/Flores, Construction
Amy Osborne, Coordinator
Jacob Rhodes, Coordinator & Registrar
Edgar Samudio, Head of Technology
Micki Unterberg, Exhibition Designer
Jen Watson, Director of Exhibitions
Andrew Winchell, Exhibition Designer


KJ Bowen
Giovanni Calabrese
Michael Chesbro
Evan Collier
Eric Diehl Droog
Brent Van Dyke
Justin Kirk
Mike Manh
Christopher Salyers
Concept Shed
Alyona Skirpka
John Taylor
David Tousley


Bravo Media
Brent Van Dyke
Robin A. Ediger-Seto
Dennis Flood
Full English Post
Julian Harris
Igloo Studio NYC


Sholto Ainslie
Bill Augustus
Marnie Briggs
Josué Colón
Aleshandra Fernandes
Bernard Gann
Chris Haag
William Hempel
Daniel Kingery
Rob Racine
Sara Sciabbarrasi
Ed Shenk
Jason Stickney
Abby Walsh