Superblue Showcases the Potential of the Immersive Art Experience

Es Devlin's "Forest of Us" at Superblue Miami.
Photo by Andrea Mora
Es Devlin's "Forest of Us" at Superblue Miami.
In 2021, art is no longer confined to a blank wall surrounded by motion detectors and ominous guards. At Superblue, art exists in the form of flowers hanging from the ceiling, clouds sticking to clothes, and mirrored, climbable staircases that resemble lungs. Here, visitors are encouraged to touch and stand inside various massive installations that allow art and visitors to coexist and create a symbiotic meaning.

As Superblue likes to say to visitors, “You complete the art.” It truly is an immersive experience in every sense of the word, resulting in something memorable, individualized, and powerful.

Rather than display a multitude of artists, Superblue focuses on only three, attesting to the company's care and desire to celebrate artists. The former can be seen in Superblue's decision to pay featured artists a percentage of ticket revenue — a move that's unheard of in a traditional museum or gallery setting.

Appropriately for an inaugural program, "Every Wall Is a Door" highlights the foundation, future, and experimental aspects of the experiential art movement. The program debuts a new immersive environment by Es Devlin, a transcendent digital experience by TeamLab, and an enveloping light-based Ganzfeld work by James Turrell.

As president and CEO of Pace Gallery, Marc Glimcher has worked with experiential artists for years and created Superblue as a response to his experience in the industry. Traditionally, galleries and museums have a restricted space that confines experiential artists and limits their ability to truly bring their ideas to life. The 50,000-square-foot industrial building in Allapattah, then, is an ideal choice for Superblue’s mission of creating an immersive art experience.
click to enlarge TeamLab’s "Massless Clouds Between Sculpture and Life" - PHOTO COURTESY OF PACE GALLERY
TeamLab’s "Massless Clouds Between Sculpture and Life"
Photo courtesy of Pace Gallery
Before entering the installations of Superblue Miami, visitors are met by Amsterdam-based Studio Drift's kinetic installation, "Meadow." Looking almost supernatural, the upturned flowers hang from the ceiling while opening and closing, giving visitors a brief introduction of the ingenuity to come. Visitors are then asked to don shoe covers as a way to protect the art; those who paid extra for TeamLab’s "Massless Clouds Between Sculpture and Life" are also provided with a rain jacket and goggles.

The real magic begins as visitors enter the first experiential space. The walls and floors display images of flowers that reflect the seasons, shifting through each season in the span of an hour. In response to human touch, the flowers wilt and fall, suggesting humanity’s impact on nature.

With the idea of nature and environment in mind, visitors are invited into the clouds with TeamLab. Relaxing music fills the cube-shaped area as masses of soap-made clouds envelop the room. The unsettling feeling forces the viewer to consider their existence in the space.

“The ominous fear is exciting and a part of what the experiences are about,” notes Shantelle Rodriguez, Superblue's director of experiential art centers.
click to enlarge TeamLab's "Universe of Water Particles, Transcending Boundaries" - PHOTO COURTESY OF PACE GALLERY
TeamLab's "Universe of Water Particles, Transcending Boundaries"
Photo courtesy of Pace Gallery
Afterward, visitors enter James Turrell's light-based Ganzfeld work. This six-minute experience is intended as a moment of reflection and meditation. As the viewer stares into the light that reflects off the back wall, dimensions are blurred and minutes feel like seconds.

Finally, Es Devlin’s "Forest of Us" uses the immersive art movement as a call to action. The artist invites viewers to consider humanity’s impact on the environment and how human bodies, particularly the lungs, resemble nature. At the end, a glowing red wall serves as a reminder of climate change and invites the viewer to take action.

Superblue opened in Miami on May 20 as the flagship location for the brand’s first experiential art center, a new term employed to avoid the stigma associated with the word "museum."

"We that think in the future, it’ll be museums, galleries, and experiential art centers," Rodriguez says.

Unlike some other immersive art experiences in Miami right now, Superblue intends to stay, with plans to showcase more than 25 different artists in coming years.

Superblue. 1101 NW 23rd St., Miami; Tickets cost $32 to $36 via Sunday through Wednesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.