The following is a transcript of the TimeOut article linked below. Be sure to give them a click!
Written by Eric Barton
For much of our lives, admiring the work of an artist went like this: Unless it’s hanging in our living room, we may never put our grubby hands on it. But lately, there’s a new trend in art, where museums and exhibits are encouraging visitors to not only touch the stuff but to interact with it physically. For a while, these interactive and immersive art exhibits were looked down upon by art snobs, who called them blatant money-grabs that catered to the selfie-obsessed. But then immersive exhibits grew up, calling upon actual artists, sometimes downright masters, to create dazzling displays that allow people to engage and immerse themselves in art in ways that just weren’t possible that long ago. At these exhibits below, not only is touching the art encouraged, but you can very much live it as if you’ve temporarily stepped inside someone else’s imagination.
Best immersive experiences in the U.S.
Meow Wolf, a Santa Fe-based artist collaborative, built “the first multiversal transit station serving Earth” in multiple locations around the country, each with different names, including Convergence Station in Denver and Omega Mart in Las Vegas. That means that a ticket, starting at $35, will buy you access to spaces that feel very much like you’ve permanently left planet Earth. Isn’t that nice?
AREA15 took the idea of an immersive experience and gave it the Vegas treatment (bigger, louder, more dazzling), with about a dozen attractions, many of them changing regularly, including “sense-altering” rides and “alternate realities” rooms. Tickets start at about $50 and run up to $124, depending on how much reality you want to have bent.
Superblue’s 50,000-square-foot warehouse in an up-and-coming industrial area of Miami is packed with interactive art, including a mirrored labyrinth and a Ganzfeld effect, where a field of monochrome light challenges depth perception. Tickets start at $29, but for a few bucks more, you can access “Massless Clouds Between Sculpture and Life,” which kind of simulates being inside a washing machine.
Imagine stepping into a dramatic painting, carrying you to some trippy world of light and colors, and you’ve got the idea behind ARTECHOUSE. After its launch in 2017, the experiment in defining interactive art has since spread to three permanent locations in Washington, D.C., New York City and Miami Beach, with tickets (starting at $17) getting you access to a very arty world that’s different in each location.
If you’ve ever been put off by museum security guards telling you not to touch the art, then head to WNDR, which has locations in Chicago, San Diego, Seattle and, coming soon, Boston. With tickets starting at $32, the idea here is art exhibits that encourage people to not only interact with the art but to actually become part of it, right down to triggering light displays by lying down on a reactive light floor.
With exhibits popping up in cities across the globe, this is the granddaddy of the immersive art movement, with massive screens, VR headsets and flowered bridges that take visitors into the artwork of the French impressionist master. Ticket prices depend on the city but can be purchased at the Google Play and Apple Store.
Escape the Room veteran Steve Kopelman designed Houston’s Seismique to feel like a trip to another galaxy, with “mind-bending” exhibits stretched across 40,000 square feet. With tickets starting at $30, there’s space for meetings or events and galleries for local artists, all of which feel like you’ve entered someone’s very vivid imagination.
Wonderspaces got its start way back in 2016 with an idea to partner with artists to create traveling, interactive exhibits. It’s currently in four cities, including Philadelphia and Scottsdale, and tickets run from a comparatively reasonable $15 to $60 for a yearly membership.
If you’ve ever wanted to hang at Central Perk, or in Rachel and Monica’s apartment, or lounge on the couch in front of that fountain from the opening credits scene, the Friends Experience offers the chance to do just that. With sets recreated from the ’90s sitcom, the exhibit (now in New York, Salt Lake and Miami) offers access starting at $26.50, or more with packages that include schwag and photos.
Twenty artists came together to create the interactive exhibits that turn this 600,000-square-foot museum in St. Louis into an immersive experience. With tickets starting at $20, the place has a 10-story slide, the largest jungle gym in the world and considering you can crawl on just about everything, the whole thing feels like one massive playground.