You may have been to Wonderspaces in the Philadelphia Fashion District before, but now the innovative venue has added some new features to make the experience even more unique and explorative.
When Wonderspaces first premiered at the new Philadelphia Fashion District back in January of last year, crowds flooded to go see the art gallery’s unique installations, many of which are interactive. For obvious reasons, months after debuting, Wonderspaces had to shut down along with a plethora of other Philly organizations when COVID-19 hit the city, but with re-openings popping up left and right, it’s now the gallery’s turn to open their doors once again with new exhibits.
Wonderspaces features works of art that aren’t just there for pretty pictures—although there is more than enough opportunities to take a bunch—but it also highlights pieces that are set to spark conversation and ultimately have visitors feel apart of the art. Probably the most eye-catching original installation out of the 16 that first called Wonderspaces home would be ‘Submergance’ by Squidsoup (a UK based open group of artists, researchers, technologists and designers), which also happens to be one of the first exhibits of art that you see after entering. Think a room filled with twinkling lights that ultimately overtakes everywhere you look. The 8,064 individual points of light continually change color and also provides an opportunity for visitors to step right into the heart of its beauty. The experience looks pretty in pictures, but really shines when you’re there in person.
With some old favorites still on the docket, the space also has some new elements here to tickle everyone’s creative fancy.
According to a release, Wonderspaces Philadelphia is celebrating its reopening and one year anniversary with the debut of new installations. With the reopening of its doors, Wonderspaces will also continue to implement health and safety protocols designed to keep patrons and team members safe during the global pandemic with requiring face masks at all times, including for photos.
“We are thrilled to welcome Philly back to Wonderspaces just in time for our one year anniversary here at the Fashion District,” said Wonderspaces General Manager Jenn McCreary in a statement. “We’re reopening with three new artworks, including a brand new VR experience, as well as an ongoing commitment to the health and wellness of our visitors and team members. Now more than ever, people are looking for safe ways to spend time with family and friends outside of their homes, being able to provide that experience is at the core of our mission.”
Although we can’t exactly globe-trot like we used to during a pandemic, Wonderspaces is bringing a bit of worldly culture to the city by partnering with artists from all over now. Its shows bring art from Burning Man, Sundance, and the far corners of the globe to the people who could be enjoying it but who may not otherwise have the opportunity. At a time when artists are unable to travel internationally to present their work, Wonderspaces shows are “a means for artists to continue to reach new audiences and to be paid for their art.”
“We believe providing a safe place to spend quality time with loved ones has never been more important than in the middle of this pandemic,” said Wonderspaces President Jason Shin in the release.
The new exhibits include: “Akousmaflore” by Scenocosme, a hanging garden of living plants that respond to human contact; “Thank You Bags” by Reed van Brunschot which plays with scale as it invites visitors to consider the overuse of plastic and its environmental impact; and “Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness” by Peter Middleton, James Spinney, Arnaud Colinart, and Amaury La Burthe. The last exhibits description reads: Step into the memory of John Hull, a theology and disability scholar, whose original audio diary recordings are the basis of this VR film which explores his sensory and psychological experience of blindness using binaural audio, VR and real time 3D animations to create a fully immersive experience in a ‘world beyond sight’.
Other experiences to immerse yourself in include ‘Come Together’ by Michael Murphy (a piece of art made to resemble a fist), ‘Sun’ by Phillip Shutte, ‘Myrkvidr’ by Yasuhiro Chida, ‘Blooms’ by John Edmark and more.
Of course, there will also be safety regulations as well, including limiting amount of visitors, heavily cleaning installations, mandatory social distancing and more.
Shin continued in his statement, “We will continue to pay close attention to the recommendations of government authorities and will amend these policies as new information becomes available. Our goal is to provide a safe and welcoming environment in which all visitors can enjoy extraordinary art.”
Tickets, memberships and health/safety information are available at Wonderspaces Philadelphia’s website, at philadelphia.wonderspaces.com