Tag: Phoenix Art Museum

Immersive Art Experiences in Phoenix, AZ: A Wonderful (and Strange) World

Despite being an artist, I am not fond of art museums. This can be frustrating for my poor husband when we travel together. Typically, he can get away with dragging me to one or two museums per trip (sometimes more depending on the location). But there’s one kind of art museum that I can’t get enough of- Immersive Art Experiences.

What is an Immersive Art Experience?

immersive art experiences

Candytopia (c) ABR 2019

I consider Immersive Art Experiences to be those in which you are surrounded by the artistic work. The best versions of immersive art might involve entire rooms where you can see, hear, and feel the piece. In the modern age, VR might be incorporated as well, transporting you to another world. And when it’s not possible to do either, I count some kinds of interactive art to be immersive as well, partially because this form of art engages with multiple senses.


#1 Wonderspaces

immersive art experiences

(c) ABR 2019

Wonderspaces can be found in three US cities, Philadelphia, Austin, and my very own Scottsdale. It’s at the top of my list, because basically every element of Wonderspaces’ display is immersive. And each piece accomplishes this in different ways. Before COVID-19, this included some very cool VR experiences. My favorite was a journey on the river between the living world and the next. While my husband was more drawn to a more scary alien abduction VR experience. The rest of their space is primarily devoted to room-sized experiences.

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Phoenix Blurb: The Phoenix Art Museum

I have to admit, as much as I love making art, I have to be in the right mood to spend a day in an art museum. My favorite kind of art, which I’ve never seen showcased in any art museum, is scientific illustration and concept art. While I can appreciate all forms of art, and could probably name a favorite for each major era and genre, I tend to get bored pretty easily in art museums. All that being said, I have gone to the Phoenix Art Museum on multiple occasions, and I enjoy it every time.

Often, it is the temporary exhibits that bring me back, and the Phoenix Museum has had some pretty unique showcases in the past. The most recent of these was the Art of Video Games, which was surprisingly interactive, and definitely unexpected. Going in, I was hoping to get a chance to enjoy some video game concept art, but that turned out to be a very very small part of the exhibit. Most of the showcase was a display of different gaming systems, and scenes from influential games. There were also a few places where visitors could try out games from different consoles and eras.

Despite displaying traditional art like European portraits, landscapes, and various forms of modern art, the Phoenix Art Museum has always had a uniquely interactive nature to it, which made the Art of Video Game exhibit fit in well with the rest of the museum. Of the permanent pieces that are featured in the museum there are two that I never get tired of seeing.

Image Found on Google

Image Found on Google

The first is Cornelia Parker’s Mass (Colder Dark Matter), which is not only beautiful but has an interesting story. The piece itself is a suspended cube made out of small chips of wood on the outside, and larger shards in the center. They all hang there on nearly invisible strings, twisting in the slight breezes of the museum. The wood itself came from a church that was struck by lightning and burned down. From loss comes something of beauty. It is a piece that has always spoken to me.

And my all time favorite is Yayoi Kusama’s You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies. In order to experience this piece, the visitor steps into a dark room of mirrored walls, filled with hanging lights. As they slowly change color in the calm air, the dangling lights look to be an infinite field of fireflies. Every time I come here, I wish I could just sit in a corner and watch the lights for a while. They are mesmerizingly beautiful, and no matter why I come to the museum, this is always the highlight of the trip.

Image Found on Google

Image Found on Google

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