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10 Immersive Art Installations Sparking Joy and Wonder this Summer 2021

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Why look at a painting on a museum wall when you could dive headfirst into it instead? That’s the idea behind the latest trend in visual art exhibits: the immersive art installation. From the Infinity Rooms of Yayoi Kusama to the Museum of Ice Cream, experiential art has been growing and expanding. And even the coronavirus pandemic didn’t stop it. Our correspondent Abbie Martin Greenbaum has curated a list of 10 immersive art installations worth seeing this Summer 2021 throughout the United States, including van Gogh in New York City.

10 immersive art installations worth seeing this Summer 2021

The term “immersive art” can refer to many different things. Sometimes, it describes a multimedia exhibit, where the five senses are all given ways to engage in the experience. Other times, it can mean an exhibit that draws the visitor in through narrative, allowing them to interact with the material at a deeper level.

a list of 10 immersive art installations worth seeing this Summer 2021 throughout the United States, including van Gogh in New York City.
The top immersive art installations worth seeing this Summer 2021, including van Gogh in New York City.

And once in a while, it’s simply an excuse to enter a space and play – something that most of us are given far too few opportunities to do in our adult lives.

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All this being said, there are many immersive art installations sweeping the country – and world – at this very moment. They range from high-brow to low-brow, silly to serious. Every single one of them will get you to think about yourself, your life, art, and society in brand new ways.  Here are ten worth visiting this summer.

10 immersive art installations worth seeing this Summer 2021

1. Immersive Van Gogh and Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience (Multiple Locations)

Over the past few months, you have likely noticed the many advertisements for this summer’s immersive Van Gogh exhibits. Well, what you may or may not have realized is that there are actually two different immersive Van Gogh exhibits happening simultaneously – both staged in multiple cities around the world.

Immersive Van Gogh was designed by Massimilano Siccardi, and is a walk-through experience, giving viewers the chance to “step inside” Van Gogh’s work – literally. The post-impressionist pieces are projected onto the walls, with 60,6000 frames of video and 90,000,000 pixels. As you travel, you will find yourself surrounded by the Dutch master’s work.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience also projects 360-degree images of the artist’s well-known pieces, creating an opportunity to “step through” them. They also offer a special VR experience, where you can put on a headset and “spend a day in the life of the artist,” walking beside Van Gogh and seeing the inspiration for his many paintings.

Whichever exhibit you choose, you will walk away with a better understanding of what makes Van Gogh such a special artist.

immersive art installations Summer 2021

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2. Omega Mart (Area 15 in Las Vegas, Nevada)

If you’re interested in immersive art, know the name Meow Wolf. They are the force behind many of the world’s biggest immersive installations, one of which is Omega Mart: a fully-functional supermarket that opened in February of 2021. Before you arrive, you should know that this is not your average supermarket. There are slides, secret doors to hidden worlds, and even a story you can follow as you travel through the aisles. There are also unique items available for purchase. Omega Mart is a perfect example of what makes immersive art so exciting: it works on multiple levels, depending on the engagement of its participant.

immersive art installations Summer 2021

3. In the Light of a Shadow (MASS MoCa in North Adams, Massachusetts)

Glenn Kaino’s new exhibit uses sound and shadow to take the spectator to protests past and present, across the globe. There’s a visual representation of the British boat Shadow V, which was bombed by Northern Ireland; there’s a metal sculpture which, when struck in a particular sequence, plays the U2 song “Sunday Bloody Sunday”; and there are videos from the protests following George Floyd’s murder by police. The exhibit is the size of a football field, which means people can fully surround their ears, eyes, and bodies with the experience of these disparate moments, and better feel the connection between them.

immersive art installations Summer 2021

4. Banksy Expo: Genius or Vandal? (New York)

Opening this August, this unauthorized exhibit gives viewers the chance to dive headfirst into the world of the mysterious artist. Designed by Exhibition Hub – the magicians behind many thrilling immersive installations – the experience will include photos and videos, as well as the largest collection of Banksy’s works ever seen in one location. In this case, the immersive nature of the experience is a way to synthesize the artist’s work. It is otherwise seen in disparate and anonymous circumstances.

immersive art installations Summer 2021

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5. Aṣẹ: Afro Frequencies (Artechouse in Miami, Florida)

Described as an immersive and multi-sensory exhibit, this installation from Vince Fraser is a celebration of the Black experience. Fraser uses a blend of audio, visual, and interactive technologies to bring history and culture to life, and to better broadcast his concepts to the world. The multimedia platform allows attendees to easily visualize reimagined historical frameworks – right in front of their eyes.

6. Superblue Miami (Miami, Florida)

This immersive art center opened in May of 2021, and we can’t wait to see everything it’s going to become. Stop by for a full-body – and mind – experience. You can traverse through Es Devlin’s mirrored labyrinth, and then let yourself be devoured by a light-based work from James Turrell. Experiential museums are crucial to the proliferation of immersive art. We are so glad that this one is finally here.

7. Happy-Go-Lucky (New York)

This is an immersive experience that’s all about confidence and positivity – and maybe it’s exactly what we need right now. It uses multimedia experiences to help you feel like the royalty that you are. You can expect: a colorful kaleidoscope room, a palace made of diamonds, and a room that recreates your first encounter with the sea. Pictures are encouraged, so you’re definitely going to want to attend this light-hearted installation with friends.

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8. FOMO Factory (Houston)

Like Happy-Go-Lucky, FOMO Factory is all about having a good time. And this one takes you back to the good time of childhood – with 17 different rooms that will help you indulge in some intense nostalgia. Sit on a seesaw, climb through an adult-sized sandcastle, and then spend some time scribbling in a giant coloring book. Who doesn’t want to forget all of their grown-up troubles for a day?

9. April Bey: Atlantica, The Gilda Region (California African American Museum in Los Angeles, California)

Through January of 2022, you can head to the California African American Museum to catch April Bey’s first solo show. This immersive installation is an exploration of Afrofuturism, with Bey taking on the persona of an alien from the planet Atlantica. She has come to planet earth with a mission, and this exhibit serves as her report. This feat immersive of storytelling uses a combination of paintings, textiles, videos, plants, and other mediums to communicate with its spectators.

10. Flux Room (WNDR Museum in Chicago)

WNDR museum is one of the US top destinations for immersive art, and you should be sure to check out every single one of their offerings (one of which is the Infinity Mirror Room from Yayoi Kusama). Flux Room is a new exhibits for 2021, and it comes from Indigenous futurist artist S̶A̶N̶T̶I̶A̶G̶O̶ X. His creation wields the powers of sound, scent and visuals – all generated by AI – to evoke a shifting futurescape for the visitor to travel through.

10 immersive art installations worth seeing this Summer 2021

That’s our take on the immersive art installations worth seeing this Summer 2021 throughout the United States, including van Gogh in New York City. What do you think, dear reader? Are you getting your tickets now?

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This article contains affiliate links to products independently selected by our editors. As an Amazon Associate, Dandelion Chandelier receives a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links. 

Abbie Martin Greenbaum grew up in New York City and currently lives in Brooklyn, where she drinks a lot of coffee and matches roommates together for a living. At Oberlin College, she studied English and Cinema, which are still two of her favorite things, along with dessert and musical theater. She believes in magic.

 

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