Experiential art

I looked again at Wave Equation. Although the signs instructed visitors not to touch it, it screamed experiential art. Touch me, move through me, experience me.

And then I wondered if the experiential art I saw a few months ago at the Art Institute in Chicago was made by the same artist, Alyson Shotz. One was explicitly experiential. One was not.

Alas, no. Pénétrable de Chicago was created by Jesús Rafael Soto. While the materials seem comparable, the experience isn’t. One is to be viewed. The other is to be lived. Living art—breathing it in—is quite different than simply viewing it.

Pictures of Pénétrable de Chicago being experienced do not do it justice. When I was there, I felt a different vibe in the room, which was filled with dozens of people. Many were walking through the art at different paces and varying trajectories. They were all deep in experiencing the art in ways unique to themselves.

Wave Equation beckoned me to experience it. To be fair though, I had just come from experiencing James Turrell’s art. I had gotten the taste of delving into art and wanted more. But as with restraining myself from literally climbing into Turrell’s Acton, I curtailed myself from running through Wave Equation.


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