There is surely nowhere better to immerse yourself in art and history than Los Angeles – literally. While the idea of “immersive” experiences is nothing new, (dating back to Paleolithic times when cave paintings were “animated” with flickering light), LA has recently welcomed an eclectic roster of immersive exhibitions – which today employ new technologies such as virtual reality, digital projection, and holography – where you too can become part of the experience.
Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms at The Broad
Immersive art pioneer Yayoi Kusama began her Mirror/Infinity rooms in New York in 1963, comprising purpose-built spaces lined with glass mirrors and countless neon-colored balls to create an illusion of never-ending space. At The Broad, visitors can become a part of Kusama’s 2013 Infinity Mirrored Room – The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (advance reservations required) or her 2017 Longing for Eternity, on the third floor (no reservations required).
A Forest for the Trees
Situated in DTLA, artist Glenn Kaino’s 28,000-square-foot A Forest for the Trees can be taken as a theatrically staged stroll through animatronic performing woodland replete with interactive illusions and/or, as the artist intends, a surreal imagining of our relationship with the natural world. Unusual in its depth of purpose and meaning, the impact of Kaino’s work on visitors will likely linger long after they stagger, blinking, from this ultra-ambitious installation.
Tupac Shakur, Wake Me When I’m Free
Created in collaboration with the Shakur Estate, Wake Me When I’m Free is an immersive experience at L.A. LIVE. The debut of a worldwide touring exhibit, the L.A. incarnation has been extended into the summer to meet demand. Using technology, contemporary art, previously unseen artifacts from Tupac Shakur’s own archives, and even a recreated recording studio. It takes a three-dimensional dive into his storied activism, music, and revolutionary art.
The Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit Los Angeles
Created by digital artist Massimiliano Siccardi and the team behind Paris’s hugely popular Van Gogh, Starry Night, the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit transforms the old Amoeba Records Building in Hollywood with 500,000 cubic feet of monumental projections that magically manifest, float, and dissipate on loops. Breathtakingly imaginative and astonishing in scale, this fresh exploration of Van Gogh’s best-known landscapes, night scenes, portraits, and still life works would surely boggle even his imagination.
The 24,000-square-foot WISDOME is L.A.’s first and largest art and music dome park, comprising five fully immersive domes, three of which boast 360-degree mapping technology. If these otherworldly structures appear familiar, that’s because they were previously showcased at Burning Man and Coachella. Dedicated to presenting avant-garde immersive art experiences and events, this jaw dropping DTLA destination also hosts Sacred Sundays, comprising sound healing, yoga, movement, and mindfulness.
Dimensions in Testimony - Holocaust Museum LA
Founded in 1961, Holocaust Museum LA is the only free cultural institution in Los Angeles with a sole focus on the horrific impact and the enormity of the Holocaust. The museum is the first survivor-founded and oldest Holocaust museum in the United States.
Dimensions in Testimony is an immersive experience that invites visitors to Interact with Holocaust survivor Renée Firestone. The exhibit uses advanced filming techniques and specialized display technologies so that guests can have one-on-one conversations with Firestone, hear her personal testimony, and ask her questions that prompt real-time responses in an intimate setting.
Score for Here at LA State Historic Park
Score for Here is a new artist commission from Jimena Sarno running at L.A. State Historic Park through Aug. 31, 2022. Using modified field recordings and samples composed through geolocation, this singular sonic experience lets visitors compose sound in real time via a free app. A graphic score based on the park’s blueprint designates each sound element’s “triggering zone,” while each visitor’s navigation of the site serves as a compositional principle, with sound seamlessly changing as they wander.
This engaging 14-room interactive experience in L.A.’s Fairfax neighborhood, opened in 2019, makes for a decidedly different date night, a bonding group activity, and a “like”-alicious selfie opp. Flutter's private, guided adventure helps guests get the best from diverse environments created by revered contemporary artists from around the world, each offering a different sensation, from delightfully playful to downright psychedelic. Full of surprises and smiles, Flutter merits repeat visits and, many would say, is truly art in action.
Immersive Frida Kahlo
Housed in Hollywood’s Lighthouse ArtSpace, Immersive Frida Kahlo is an enveloping journey into both 500,000 cubic feet of the Mexican painter’s art and her sometimes tumultuous life. Created by the team behind Immersive Van Gogh (see above), this 90-million-pixel marvel offers a more narrative stroll through mesmerizing large-scale projections paired with original music by Italian composer Luca Longobardi. While Kahlo’s art speaks for itself, this colorful experience is distinguished by focusing equally on the artist behind it.
Street Art Alive at THE LUME
While many immersive art experiences focus on just one legendary creator, Street Art Alive is a multisensory exploration of the vibrant expression and social commentary of more than 200 global street artists. This inaugural experience at downtown’s THE LUME digital gallery brings every surface to life with light, a choreographed soundtrack, curated tastes, and even aromas evocative of each location – New York, London, São Paulo and more – and era, including eight sections of the graffiti-slathered Berlin Wall.
Banksy: Genius or Vandal?
Banksy: Genius of Vandal? is an unauthorized exhibition of the famously secretive British street artist’s work. Housed in Culver City, it includes an immersive virtual reality tour of Banksy’s studio, recreations of his art, and “authenticated” pieces apparently obtained from private collectors. Controversially, it lacks the backing of Banksy, who is famously opposed to charging people to view his art. Alternatively, you can see Banksy’s sole surviving piece of L.A. street art, “PARK,” for free as Banksy intended, in an alleyway near Broadway and 9th, DTLA. If you're at the Ace Hotel, it's across the street.