New museums have become multi-sensorial expressions from optical illusions to virtual reality, continuing to pop up in multiple cities across the world, changing the landscape of how we attend a museum.
Art has always evolved, from small paintings to statues to murals encompassing whole buildings and with technology's rapid advancements art too has had to modernize and amplify the experience.
The advancement in social media has created a firestorm of consumers who want to immerse themselves completely, engaging all of their senses simultaneously, turning the centuries old museum visit into a once in a lifetime experience.
The traditional idea of the museums that we grew up with began in the Vatican in the late 1400s. They evolved and migrated to create the Louvre in France, the British Museum in London, and the Metropolitan in New York. They all followed the same format, both private and public collections of art, history, and wonders of the world were put on display for people to walk through arm in arm to admire.
The next iteration came with the discovery of King Tut and his tomb. The collection took the world by storm as it was put on loan from museum to museum, jumping in and out of cities and turning going to the museum into more than a visit, it was an event. It was followed by numerous exhibits throughout the 1900s and most recently in 2005 with Bodies: The Exhibition.
The most recent iteration of change to the museums of the world has become more immersive, more engaging. The new museums have become multi-sensorial expressions from optical illusions to virtual reality. They continue to pop up in multiple cities across the country, changing the landscape of how we attend a museum.
Wonderspaces’ business model was conceived as “reaching audiences that didn’t necessarily feel like art institutions were for them,” said Jason Shin, president, and co-founder of the 3-year-old startup based in Los Angeles.
Taking photos is encouraged, as long as you’re not making money off the images. And 20-somethings are responding by posting glamour shots in front of — or inside — works such as “Submergence,” a room-size grid of hanging lights that blink on and off in response to ambient music, creating shifting patterns as you move through the lattice.
A smartphone is practically required to fully enjoy “Blooms,” a trio of 3D-printed sculptures that shimmer as they rotate in strobe lights flashing too quickly for the naked eye to see. But a slow-motion video offers a glimpse into the science behind the illusion.
Kids will get a kick out of “Body Paint,” which allows them to add splashes of color to a big-screen design by waving their arms.
But not all the work is high-tech. “The Last Word,” for example, invites you to read “secret messages” left behind by previous visitors, and write one of your own.
Currently showing in San Diego | Scottsdale | Austin | Philadelphia | wonderspaces.com
Meow Wolf consists of over 200 full-time employees and hundreds of other collaborators, creating and supporting art across a variety of media, including architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, video production, cross-reality (AR/VR/MR), music, audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming, performance, and more.
It creates immersive and interactive experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration. This includes art installations, video, and music production, and extended reality content.
Inside, guests discover a multidimensional mystery house with secret passages, portals to magical worlds, and an expansive narrative amidst surreal, maximalist, and mesmerizing art exhibits.
Currently showing in Santa Fe | Las Vegas | Denver (coming fall '21) | meowwolf.com
The Museum of Ice Cream
The biggest museum of social media importance is the Museum of Ice Cream with their large flagship in New York City. One of the two founders Maryellis Bunn has been called the Millennial Walt Disney due to her mission of filling every empty space with fantasy play spaces that transport their visitors to another time and place.
It is less a museum, more of a sprawling warren of interactive, vaguely hallucinatory confection-themed exhibits: brightly colored rooms with flattering lighting that contain, among other things, a rock-candy cave, a unicorn, and a swimming pool of rainbow sprinkles, now Instagram-influencer-infamous.
There are seemingly infinite backdrops against which to take a cute selfie. It’s like a haunted house for digital natives; a Willy Wonka–induced fever dream. It’s not a store, though there’s plenty to buy. It’s not an ice-cream joint either, though the treat’s available. It’s an elusive concept with a concrete aesthetic.
Now showing in NYC | Singapore | museumoficecream.com
Immersive Van Gogh
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is a 20,000 square foot light and sound spectacular featuring two-story projections of the artist’s most compelling works. It reintroduces their audience to the artist in a new and innovative way, putting you inside the paintings.
The museum features a one of a kind Virtual Reality interactive, which guides you on a ten-minute journey through “A day in the life of the Artist.” Walk in his footsteps, transform yourself into the artist and escape today's world without ever leaving your city.
With ten locations across the United States and another twelve museums across the globe, Van Gogh is becoming the top name in art for a whole new generation.