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The Largest Immersive Art Experience In The U.S. Just Opened In This City

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Gustav Klimt’s The KissPhoto credit: Anna Ismagilova / Shutterstock.com

Want a break from the real world? There’s a digital and immersive art experience that will change your life — at least for a few hours. Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank in Lower Manhattan, now Hall des Lumières, is hosting the largest digital art experience in the U.S.

Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion is a 20,000-square-foot light and sound show featuring two-story projections of the artist’s most compelling works. Visitors traveling through the exhibit will experience the 360-degree world of Gustav Klimt’s art.

In the past 70 years, since Manhattan’s Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank stopped operating as a bank, it has served as a Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), a voting site, and temporary office space for city hall. Hall des Lumières opened on September 14 with the inaugural exhibition featuring the works of Gustav Klimt.

This Austrian painter led the Vienna secession movement at the beginning of the 20th century. The original building, which opened in 1909, is of the same era as Klimt’s most popular paintings, including The Kiss (1907–1908).

What Is Digital Art?

Just like traditional fine art, digital artists work in multiple media and styles to express themselves. Media include digital photography, computer graphics, pixel art, and more experimental media such as Artificial Intelligence (AI)-generated art and Artificial Reality (AR) art.

Digital art is perpetually evolving, including the myriad of ways it’s produced, distributed, and viewed. Digital art’s final product might be a vector image, an Adobe Photoshop collage, a virtual environment, or a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) — to name a few.

A Ground-Breaking Digital Art Exhibit

The inaugural exhibition uses more than 130 video projectors to provide the viewer with a totally immersive experience. The designers used video mapping to bring the building’s architecture into the viewers’ imagination. The “film” runs an hour long and is on a loop. Visitors go at their own pace.

Jointly created by Culturespaces, a French museum foundation, and media production company IMG, this new digital art exhibition brings two-dimensional works of art to life. Visitors can expect to see iconic paintings like Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, as well as Judith and the Head of Holofernes, set to a musical score.

After looking at New York venues for several years, Gianfranco Iannuzzi, the show’s creative director, selected the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank. He chose the former bank because he favors venues that have been disused for years and those that require a renaissance to bring them back to their initial glory.

It’s Different From Other Digital Exhibits

Other digital Klimt exhibits are located in pop-up spaces, i.e., large warehouses with white walls. Iannuzzi, the designer, has adapted his work to the Hall des Lumières. He contends that the Hall’s architecture has actually transformed his work.

The music chosen for the show is also unique. It’s from the same region as Klimt. Composers include Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Strauss II, and Gustav Mahler. Iannuzzi chose the artwork and the music in tandem for the immersive experience. Some contemporary composers, like Philip Glass, have been added to the mix since Iannuzzi believes Klimt’s work is timeless and shouldn’t be accompanied solely by classical artists from one time period.

Plan Your Visit

Located at 49 Chambers Street in lower Manhattan, Hall des Lumières is open Sunday through Wednesday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; and Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Last entry is an hour before closing. Look here for directions and other helpful information.

Guests should plan on spending about an hour inside the exhibit. Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion lasts for about 30 minutes. It is followed by a short immersive exhibit featuring the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser — a mid-century Austrian painter inspired by Klimt — as well as 5 Movements, a 10-minute exploration of different styles of dance from the art, design, and technology studio Nohlab. All three exhibits loop together so you can stay as long as you like.

Find pricing information and buy your tickets here. Limited tickets will be available for purchase at the box office and they cost more than buying in advance.

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