Updated: Jan 15
Wanna go to the museum? NO … Well dang!
That's the reply I get most times I ask people to visit a museum with me. This time I didn't even bother and went ALONE. Aww, who am I fooling? I do things alone anyhow - LOL.
I’ve heard some people shy away from classic museums because “it’s just too much reading.” Did I just describe you? If so, then immersive art may be a better fit. As I sat in my car on a zoom call, I watched the different age groups of people enter and exit the brick building. Okay – Cool – I thought. My middle-aged behind won’t look all crazy up in there all alone. Some reviews I read before hand described the WNDR museum as just another self-proclaimed selfie hall. I thought, if so, that would surely age me out. I know I won't fit in with a bunch of teens with puckered lips and iPhone 13's.
1PM struck and it was my turn. I was ready to be immersed.
Immersive Art – works of art that “envelop their audience in a full-body experience, engaging with sight, touch and sometimes even smell (Agora Digital Art).”
The first exhibit to greet us was a florescent sign by, Brad Keywell, confirming “we are all artist!” It was a simple but beautiful and meaningful sign but it wasn’t my wow moment. It wasn’t what I expected. For a slight second I wondered if I had just wasted $36.00 (peak pricing).
Then boom, there I was on stage – performing to millions of fans. I was just about to flick my fedora across the room when it hit me! Lady, you are not Michael Jackson and this is not your stage. There are people waiting behind you (see video below).
This happened in the “Antibodies” exhibit created by Studio Iregular. I read the inspiration for the piece which stated, “We are becoming increasingly jaded and disconnected from other people,” and “how easy it is to be “present” yet completely absent-minded in such context, pretending to pay attention only by being in front of a screen.”
Oops, I played right into that didn't I? Better luck next time.
I gathered myself, pressed the fedora onto my scalp and continued.
Different feelings and thoughts were evoked as I engaged in room after room of immersive art.
The big moment was the “Infinity Room” by the Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama. You are only allowed one-minute in the room with your group. You must wear protective coverings over your shoes.
Yayoi life’s story alone is worth reading. She’s the highest paid living female artist and her art is definitely a talking point. Inside the Infinity room was like looking into forever.
My thoughts – if you do not suffer from light sensory issues and have even a slight interest in immersive art, then the WNDR won’t disappoint. It’s not too big where you begin to question “how much longer.” And, it’s small enough to feel up close and not swallowed by large amounts of space. It's a one way museum. No back tracking allowed – so take your time. Enjoy each pleasantly curated moment. Or pay $50.00 for an upgraded ticket that offers a 2nd go-around. Be mindful that although you are allowed to take off your mask for photos, Omicron is raging and protection is our number one priority.
Since the WNDR Museum phone number isn’t listed, I’ll try to answer questions you might ask.
Is there a bathroom? Yes, and be sure to press buttons if you see any inside. As the bathroom is also immersive and makes tinkling fun.
Where is it located? 1130 W. Monroe Chicago, Illinois 60607
Do you need to pre-purchase tickets? Yes
Is there room for social distancing? Your appointment times are staggered. Most times you should only be with the group you came with.
Bring sani-wipes for the phone booth as I didn’t see any near the exhibit
The Ames exhibit does have a slot to prop your phone for photos. Simply set your timer and get in position.
Can you enjoy the museum as a SOLO traveler? Yes! I did and had a blast.
Would you recommend the WNDR for date night? Yep! It works for a fun night out.
PS. For my Self Healing group who are interested in seeking purpose through SOLO adventures, an immersive museum is a great baby step. There are people all around so you aren't technically alone. And, you're so engaged with the exhibits that it is easy to forget you came by yourself.
Remember, loneliness is a mind set. Don't see yourself as lonely - open up your mind and say "I'm just enjoying a few moments alone."
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