New York’s Artechouse Is Staging an Immersive Instagram-Ready Experience Despite the Pandemic—See Images Here
Its current show is based on shimmering fractals.
For those who doubted that the experience economy would survive the pandemic, look no further than New York’s Artechouse, which had lines down the block on Friday night for the preview of its new exhibition, “Geometric Properties,” featuring a 30-minute experiential artwork by Julius Horsthuis.
Like all non-essential business, Artechouse shuttered at the onset of the pandemic last March, just six months after opening. (Its first location opened in Washington, DC, in 2017, followed by a second one in Miami that opened in 2018).
Cofounders Sandro Kereselidze and Tati Pastukhova had to furlough 100 workers, but say they were able to bring back 95 percent of them to reopen in September, just in time for the space’s one-year anniversary.
Since then, Artechouse says it has welcomed over 150,000 visitors across its three locations. (Tickets range from $17 for children, to $24 for adults.)
“People were saying ‘I missed being around art—I didn’t know how much I needed this,'” Artechouse visitor experience director Lena Galperina told Artnet News. “During this time of isolation, an artwork can help you feel connected. That kind of experience is what’s bringing people to the space.”
The Instagram trap “museum,” tailor-made for photo ops, seems like the last kind of place that would be safe mid-pandemic. But “Geometric Properties” presents swirling, dizzying images that can be photographed from anywhere in the room, allowing for at least some social distancing.
Even in normal times, Artechouse isn’t filled to capacity to ensure optimal visitor experience. “We’re well below the 25 percent” legal capacity limit in New York, Galperina said.
And though there wasn’t always a full six feet between parties, especially while filing into the space, it was fairly easy to keep my distance for the duration of my visit. In that regard, it actually seems safer than a traditional art museum.
(At my only visit to MoMA since museums reopened, it seemed that every work in every gallery had at least one person in front of it at all times, making social distancing all but impossible.)
The Artechouse exhibition is an impressive display. “Julius was able to create these incredible surreal worlds that are actually an expression of mathematics,” Galperina said.
“Only in the last 15 years have our computers become fast enough and powerful enough for us to start to explore three-dimensional fractals,” she added. “Now, using the latest video and audio technology, we’re actually allowing people to stand inside a fractal and experience it as a surreal, almost narrative journey.”
See more photos from the exhibition below.
“Geometric Properties” by Julius Horsthuis is on view at Artechouse, 439 West 15th Street, New York (at Chelsea Market), March 1–September 6, 2021.
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