A Funhouse of Art Surprises

Just enter under the big head

Just enter under the big head

I was I love when I saw the waterfall, projectile drooling from a giant bald moss head.  The entrance was below his right shoulder, and what was inside was amazing.

After a 20-minute bus ride past the fringes of Innsbruck, I was here–what for, I was not sure.  Kristallwelten Swarovski might have just been a gift shop for Swarovski crystal or a factory tour, but it turned out to be what a contemporary art museum should be–an interactive experience, dazzling (what a clichéd word) the senses with sight and sound.  Some were action, some were videos, some were exhibitions, and the coolest were theater.

Jim Whiting's Theater of Body PartsLike a haunted house, each new room is hidden by a black curtain, revealing its surprises slowly.  Each room was a big top, its own spectacle.  Here, the parading legs and dancing suit pants made famous in Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit” video.

Walking into a crystal dome, a magic mirrored planetarium, like being inside a crystal with some really cool ice music.  (To try to experience this, try this link , have your computer sound on, and check out the other artists too.)

Kristllwelten SwarovskiBut unlike much contemporary art, which alternately insults you, confuses you, and grosses you out, this captured imagination, immensity, sensory stimulation, and amazement.  I watched all sorts of visitors (old, young, from many countries) walk into the rooms and say ‘wow.’

A diorama made by a theater designer (and this was only one of here exhibits)

A diorama made by a theater designer (and this was only one of here exhibits)

The surprises reminded me of the Dali Museum in Figueres Spain, but more carefully curated, with a greater variety and more consistency.  Even though Dali made art for the Swarovski museum, it was eclipsed by many others.

Photographs and explanations scarcely capture the bizarre.  But more than bizarre, there was a rapturous (did I make that word up?) quality.  I wanted to stop and stare.  Not to rush through to see what’s next.

Try the whole virtual tour here, but have your computer’s sound turned on.

Written 6/24/2014

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