Mar 11, 2022 - Things to Do

"Immersive" art exhibit opening at Des Moines Art Center

Des Moines art piece

"We Carry Space and Time Within Us" by Matthew Willie Garcia. Photo courtesy of Matthew Willie Garcia

You step into the Des Moines Art Center. Then you step into space. Then you step into a trippy elevator.

  • The center's newest exhibit, aptly called "Immersive," will bring you on a journey into different worlds, thanks to a combination of video projections, sound and physical art.

Driving the news: The exhibit opens tomorrow and takes a page from the "immersive" art trend that's growing, like the Van Gogh experience that's coming to Des Moines this year.

How it works: Visitors follow a dark path that guides them from room to room.

  • There are four different exhibits — two featuring art from the center's permanent collection and two new pieces for the exhibit.

In one room, Matthew Willie Garcia, a Kansas City-based artist, combines paper art, video projection and sound to bring the viewer on a "destabilizing," but "transcendent" experience through the Big Bang and space.

In another room by popular Des Moines artist Oyoram, viewers find themselves waiting outside of an elevator simulation that's created via LED monitors.

  • But once they step in — they're brought up seven stories, each with their own unique themes and meaning.
Ran Hawan's art piece
"Garden of Water" by Ran Hwang from 2010. Photo courtesy of the Des Moines Art Center

The big picture: The inspiration for "Immersive" stemmed from the pandemic in 2020, said Laura Burkhalter, the curator.

  • Because she couldn’t travel to find art, she reminisced on pieces she wanted to show again from the permanent collection and it grew from there.
  • "I was wanting to be away from my living room — all of us feeling cooped up," Burkhalter said. "It led me to focus on these beautiful pieces and the idea just grew and grew."

Thought bubble: The elevator felt so real, I was motion sick! (100% worth it.)

Where to find it: "Immersive" runs through June 5 at 4700 Grand Ave., Des Moines.

  • Entry is free. Hours are here.
Oyoram's art piece
"7even Stories High" by Oyoram. Photo courtesy of Des Moines Art Center
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