Opening of the Hall of Lights digital art center in New York

In the more than 70 years since the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank in Manhattan ceased to be used for its original purpose, it has served as a DMV, polling station, and temporary hotel offices. de ville, located across the street. Now, after undergoing extensive renovations over the past three years, the Beaux Arts building is reborn as New York’s first permanent digital art center. The Hall of Lights opened on September 14 with an inaugural exhibition featuring the work of Gustav Klimt, the Austrian painter who led the Viennese secession movement in the early 20th century.

Co-created by Culturespaces, a French museum foundation, and media production company IMG, this new digital art showroom uses several dozen high-definition projectors to bring two-dimensional works of art to life. During the opening of the exhibition Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motionvisitors can expect to see iconic paintings, including Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) and Judith and the head of Holofernes (1901) – all set to a musical score as they move from floor to ceiling.

Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion features iconic Klimt paintings like The kiss.

Photo by Mark Zhelezoglo for Hall of Lights/Culturespaces

Reestablishment of the Industrial Savings Bank for Emigrants

After having explored ten places in New York for five or six years, Gianfranco Iannuzzi, the creative director of the show, chose the Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank. Iannuzzi said he is drawn to places that need a revival and have often been disused for years.

“I always look for a place that has a story, that has a soul,” Iannuzzi said.

The Emigrant Industrial Savings Bank, which opened in 1909, is from the same era as Klimt’s most popular paintings, including The kiss (1907-1908). Restoration work on the iconic building involved removing smoke stains from when cigarettes were allowed inside. Original details including overhead lights, drop-off slip station and bank teller windows remain, while a platform at the rear of the space has been built to provide visitors with a vantage point. higher view of the exhibition.

Beneath the main hall, the former bank vault is also being converted into a smaller gallery for contemporary works. Guests enter through the massive vault door to discover a mirrored space inside reflecting projections of contemporary video art. The space opened with Recode Entropiaan apocalyptic film set in the space of François Vautier.

How ‘Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion’ differs from other immersive art exhibitions

At the moment, two other digital exhibitions on Klimt are presented in different cities, including Detroit and London. However, these are housed in pop-up spaces which are usually large warehouses with white walls.

“It’s very important to me, it’s not a square that you put an image [on]— it’s too easy,” Iannuzzi said. “It’s up to me to adapt my work to the space. And this space is very strong.

And while Iannuzzi has designed Klimt shows that have already screened in other Culturespaces venues, including the Atelier des Lumières in Paris and the Fabrique des Lumières in Amsterdam, Iannuzzi adapts the show to each new space and allows the architecture to transform his work.

“In Paris, it’s different than in New York than in Seoul,” he said. “Every time you see something different.”

The soundtrack is also unique to this show and features music from the same region as Klimt, from composers such as Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Strauss II and Gustav Mahler. Unlike movies, which often mark images after they’ve been shot, Iannuzzi said he chose paintings and music in tandem because for immersive experiences, “music is very, very important.”

For example, during the show you will notice Klimt’s painting Beethoven frieze (1902) is accompanied by Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which inspired the painter to create the 112-foot-long artwork of the Secession building in Vienna. Iannuzzi also realized that Klimt and Mahler vacationed at the same lake outside of Vienna. He therefore associated the paintings that Klimt made on this site with the music of Mahler inspired by the same place.

You will also notice that some contemporary composers, like Philip Glass, have been added to the mix as Iannuzzi believes Klimt is a timeless artist and his work should not be accompanied only by classical artists from a certain period.

Hall of Lights, New York

Visitors will see paintings like lady with a fan (1918) animated from ceiling to floor.

Photo by Mark Zhelezoglo for Hall of Lights/Culturespaces

How to plan your visit

Located at 49 Chambers Street in lower Manhattan, the Hall of Lights is open Sunday through Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 10 p.m.

Guests should plan to spend approximately one hour inside the exhibit. Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion lasts approximately 30 minutes and is followed by a short immersive exhibition 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 dance styles from art, design and technology studio Nohlab. All three exhibits are wrapping up and guests can stay as long as they wish.

How to buy tickets

Buy now:

Timed entry tickets – allowed 30 minutes from the booked time – are on sale now for Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion via for viewings through December 31, 2022. (It’s likely Klimt’s show will be extended beyond that date, since Culturespaces says it plans to run its main exhibit once every 10 to 12 months.) Limited tickets are available for purchase in person at the box office.

Admission is $30 for adults, $28 for seniors 65+, $15 for youth ages 5-16, $19 for students, and $25 for veterans/serving military active and first responders. Children under five enter for free. A $75 family deal includes two standard admission tickets and two youth tickets.

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