Do you (a FOMO-ridden Instagrammer) love NYC’s current Hilma af Klint and Frida Kahlo exhibitions but — dammit — you were unable to document it for the ’gram because too many people were huddled in front of the most visually stunning artworks? (Hilma’s use of mauve and yellow is so edgy!)
Do I hear a collective yes? Luckily, an artsy entrepreneur who dreamt of building her own “Infinity Room”-meets-29 Rooms, Dream Machine, and Color Factory just partnered with a few Instagram influencers to unveil Art Betchez: An Immersive Experience. Throughout seven separate areas of a still-secret location in Brooklyn, Art Betchez will recreate the environment of some of the paintings made by “badass women” of art history, including the the most yoni-like flowers of Georgia O’Keeffe, Hilma af Klint’s mystic, Insta-friendly charts, and Tamara de Lempicka’s neoclassical, slightly cubist glamour.
Wall projections and three-dimensional props will coexist in an environment that is meant to make the viewer feel as cradled as if they were “crawling back into a womb.”
“Hilma af Klint loved painting swans, so, for her room, we designed a ball pit complete with swan-shaped inflatable floaters — they’re all the rage in the Hamptons right now,” a spokesperson told Hyperallergic, adding that said floaters will be available for sale at the museum’s shop (with a price tag of $79.99).
As for the lush nature favored by the likes of Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keeffe, we should expect the recreation of tropical and subtropical landscapes, actually pulsating with life. “God knows how many shipments of live caterpillars we already planned,” the same representative told Hyperallergic. “Our goal is to have live butterflies integrated into the environment.”
The price of admission is quite steep: tickets will sell for $50 and include your immersive-experience standard fare of a lollipop, a selection of fizzy candies, and a beverage. For an extra $5 add-on, you get to clip on a single orchid behind your ear to “channel the Frida Kahlo aesthetic.” With their liquor license still pending, they’re still unsure whether they will be able to make their rosewater-rosé welcome cocktail happen. One can hope!
The museum’s store will also sell shades of lipstick inspired by Tamara de Lempicka’s sirens, flower crowns made of silk “for your inner Frida … or Georgia!”, and your textbook list of witchy accouterments that are now oddly associated with Hilma af Klint, despite the fact that her mysticism was more theosophical than Wiccan.
Art Betchez is ready to retort to any snark: to those who say that you can’t just rip off famous paintings to recreate immersive environments, they patiently show that it’s working pretty well for the Atelier Des Lumières immersive initiative on Gustav Klimt. “Honestly, this is all because the artists we highlight are women,” the press-rep continued. “Haters gonna hate.”
As for its Instagram potential, it is now common knowledge that having many followers is as prizeworthy as a Master’s degree. And would you rather spend $50 or $50k?
So, you might ask, when can we experience all these marvels? All female painters were witchy, obviously, so Art Betchez will open on Walpurgisnacht (April 30). It will close on Midsummer Night with an immersive Maypole-themed party — flower crowns encouraged!!
Tickets are going on sale this Friday, but given that there’s still time to see both Hilma Af Klint: Paintings from The Future at the Guggenheim and Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving at the Brooklyn Museum, we would perhaps advise going see the real thing.
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.