Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Experiential Art in LA

When I lived in LA I almost never visited museums. This is strange because I have always been a lover of art, and I have always visited museums in cities I travel to, but in over three years in LA I never went to the LACMA, or the MOCA, and only once to the Geffen.

When I returned to the city about 6 years, I wanted to see it all, and not just the museums of the exhibits, I wanted to do every experiential art exhibit I could. None of these exhibits were easy to see. I had to book tickets for all of them one week-3 months in advance and wait for hours.  I planned my day around these exhibits I was strategic – and you have to be. Demand definitely exceeds supply. 

Experiential art is basically the fifth dimension. 

To me, there’s 2D art - paintings, drawings – which are only viewed from straight ahead. Like this:

3D art  - sculpture – which had be viewed from multiple angles. Like this:

Jeff Koons  - Balloon Dog

 4D art: Installations – which take up entered rooms or sections of room, where you are immersed in the art, but you are still viewing – not participating. Like this:

Robert Therrien - Under the Table

 And then there is experiential art, which immerses you in the art the way an installation does, but also invites you to participate, to feel affected by the art and to affect the art in return.  This is an entirely new level of interacting with art.

Infinity Room, Broad Museum

Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room, a mirror-lined chamber housing a dazzling and seemingly endless LED light display, will be featured in the inaugural installation. This experiential artwork on the museum’s first floor has limited capacity, accommodating one visitor at a time for approximately 45 seconds, and will require a separate free timed ticket, which general admission ticket holders will be able to reserve after arrival at the museum.”

-       From The Broad’s website

The room itself does not take reservations, but you should make reservations at the Broad 3 months in advance. Try to make a reservation for the time the museum opens, then go 15 minutes early and wait in line. When you arrive, you’ll be able to enter the queue by signing up at a kiosk. The Broad is so professional and organized that we had no problem seeing this exhibit – so we went back and saw it twice!

Panorama shot

Classic selfie

Rain Room, LACMA

“Random International’s Rain Room (2012) is an immersive environment of perpetually falling water that pauses wherever a human body is detected. The installation offers visitors an opportunity to experience what is seemingly impossible: the ability to control rain. Rain Room presents a respite from everyday life and an opportunity for sensory reflection within a responsive relationship.”

- From the LACMA’s website

We booked tickets to the Rain Room 3 months in advance, and they were sold out by the time we fly to LA to see it. With times tickets, we didn’t have to wait in a queue, we just showed up 5 minutes before going into the room. It was definitely a cool experience, but a bit 22 people in the room felt like 5 too many. If people stand too close to one another then the rain doesn’t fall between then – so with a big group it hardly rains at all. The lighting was also really dramatic and enhanced the experience  of being in the room, but made it hard to take photos. Also, they tell you not to wear black clothing because the sensors have a difficult time detecting dark colors. But, well, I have black hair…so I got rained on a lot.

I ended up getting more than a little wet

Break Bred, Think Tank Gallery

"The duo built a 7,000-square-foot cake castle and candied urban block party called “Break Bread,” which opens Saturday in downtown L.A.’s Think Tank Gallery. The six-room cake maze -- made from delicious-looking spackle and house paint topped with real candy – resembles ornately decorated, pillowy white cake with sugar cream frosting. Chandeliers made of shimmering hard candies and gumdrops dangle from the ceiling. Circus mirrors embedded in cake give the illusion that the sugary oasis stretches on for infinity."

The Think Tank Gallery happened to have an interesting exhibit while we were in LA. This tiny gallery is located through a discreet passage in the midst of busting Santee avenue. Up a flight of stairs and into a maze of walk-in cake room made out of clay, this was another interesting experience. It was extremely crowded and I couldn't help but wish the cake was real, but at least I can check another thing off my bucket list. 

Breathing Room, LACMA

“James Turrell, considered one of the most important artists of the Southern California Light and Space movement, was born in Los Angeles in 1943 and attended Pomona College, where he studied art, art history, mathematics, perceptual psychology and astronomy. He took graduate courses at the University of California, Irvine, and received a master's degree in fine art from Claremont Graduate School. Breathing Light is one of the artist's Ganzfeld pieces: an installation designed to entirely eliminate the viewer's depth perception. James Turrell’s art is a nexus for the worlds of art, science, architecture, astronomy, mathematics, archaeology, and spirituality.”

- From the LACMA’s website

This is probably my favorite of all the experiences, and it is the one that was easiest to see. No reservations are needed, but when you show up to the LACMA, you should write your name on a kiosk to be added to the queue as soon as possible. A note about the kiosk – it’s often wrong. Both times I saw the Breathing Light room, my expected was 85 minutes – and ended up being 120 minutes, and 45 minutes – which turned into 90 minutes. Though the kiosk is  inaccurate, it’s well worth the wait. This room truly feels like you are breathing in light. It fluctuates from deep blue to violet red in intervals, and 5 minutes in the room is just about enough time to experience one interval. The shift is so subtle it’s hardly noticeable. Everything about your perception changes when you are inside the room. I feel differently, I think differently. It is transformative.  

Unfortunately I was not allowed to take photos in the Breathing Light Room, so I am showing some that others have taken.

Photo courtesy of http://hyperallergic.com/74499/inside-the-light-james-turrell-in-la/

Photo courtesy of http://www.nbclosangeles.com/entertainment/the-scene/Breathing-Light-Enjoys-Longer-LACMA-Run-260369051.html

No comments:

Post a Comment

Brewing Adventures in The Gambia: How I Took My Coffee Obsession on the Road

As someone who has developed a genuine obsession with coffee, the prospect of a work trip to The Gambia posed an interesting challenge. A qu...