not the typical "look, don't touch" approach
Living in Chicago and spending years visiting Miami, art has become less of a hobby and grown into a huge interest. Especially being in public relations and advertising, surrounding myself with art and nature helps sustain inspiration. So when I heard of a pop-up exhibition coming to the West Loop featuring Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirror Rooms, for the first time in Chicago, I knew I had to go. The museum itself has 19 rooms slash experiences that flow into each other, all having to do with the 'wonder' of the world, i.e. art and science coming together.
The experience begins as soon as you enter up until the very end. Each visitor picks a color from the rolls of string hanging on the wall to wear as a wristband and later learns that color's meaning once getting to the end. This full circle idea is seen throughout the entire museum, starting with the small, microcosm string to ending with Kusama's macrocosm Infinity Mirror Rooms. Wndr Museum explained the exhibition as an imagined collaboration between Albert Einstein and Andy Warhol as, "exploring the universe from the smallest matter to the infinite.” It's obvious by now this museum isn't like others, for starters, you can touch, move and even play with some of the pieces. The exhibition is curated so that every visitor must walk through each room in a specifically crafted way, starting with the small and ending with the infinite.
Just as the creators explained, the curated path mimics the unthinkably small, to the unimaginable infinite. To start, there is wall filled with tiny trinkets in little boxes, lined with microscopes underneath, leading into a room with a re-created particle machine used to detect the smallest of small particles. The next area contains a wall of prisms that create color from light hitting them, an optical illusion room, and a cave created to mimic DNA strands. As you move forward, rooms filled with clouds and whimsical shapes, tunnels that light up and create light vibrations on the ground where you step, demonstrate the observable world around us. Making it to what is called the garden room, a giant globe is present off to the side, a room filled with balloons of different sizes move around in "anti-gravity," and recordings that were sent up to space hang in strands that visitors are able to listen to by holding a tin can up against them; examples of what lies just beyond earth's atmosphere. Kusama's Infinity Mirror Rooms is the last real piece, a small 20x20ft (give or take) room that seems to go on forever, seemingly like the universe.
All in all, the wndr experience was incredible. Not just because of the art or the whimsy of the rooms, or even the fact that it was shared with a good friend on a casual night. It was incredible for how it made me feel. I usually get a feeling of inspiration or general goodness after going to an art museum, but wndr was different. It reminded me of being a kid again questioning everything around me and exploring without reigns or judgment.