A Virtual Reality Museum Launches With New Work by Olafur Eliasson

Rainbow by Olafur Eliasson | Courtesy of Acute Art.
Rainbow by Olafur Eliasson | Courtesy of Acute Art.
Photo of Rachel Gould
Art & Design Editor20 December 2017

Virtual reality art platform Acute Art has launched their highly-anticipated VR exhibition space. A “museum without walls,” VR Museum premiered with an immersive project by Olafur Eliasson, and forthcoming works by Marina Abramović, Jeff Koons, and Anish Kapoor soon to follow.

In an effort to “further expand the horizons of virtual reality with subscription-based, interactive, multiuser fine-art exhibits,” Acute Art has launched a new app that grants subscribers exclusive access to over a dozen original works of art by some of the world’s foremost artists.

Olafur Eliasson in Headse | Courtesy of Acute Art.

One such artwork is Rainbow, an immersive installation created by the pioneering, internationally-acclaimed artist Olafur Eliasson. A room-scale, interactive exhibition, Rainbow “shifts in position based on the viewer’s proximity to softly falling rain, and its ability to refract light,” explains the press release. “It is a community piece, created to allow multiple users to interact and experience the space together.”

Eliasson’s long-withstanding practice forging artworks that manipulate light and space paved a clear path to VR experimentation. “Virtual reality has the potential to become a platform for new ways of experiencing if we include the body in our virtual work—I don’t believe in leaving the body behind,” says the artist. “For this reason, I’ve been particularly interested in developing Rainbow so that it hosts many people at the same time. To me, this social aspect is crucial; it emerges through recognizing the presence of others, by experiencing others’ impact on a space.”

Olafur Eliasson, Rainbow | Courtesy of Acute Art.
Olafur Eliasson, Rainbow | Courtesy of Acute Art.

As part of the platform’s initiative to promote the works of emerging artists, VR Museum also provides space for public exhibitions. The Factory is where artworks by over 50 promising artists can be experienced for free. Those who subscribe following the app’s immediate launch will have access to showcases by Jakob Steensen, Float Collective, Ben Outram and Isaac Cohen.

VR Museum will also provide users with the opportunity to experience Rising by Marina Abramović, in which an avatar of the controversial performance artist is submerged in a glass tank of water that slowly rises to communicate environmental concerns. In a more bucolic experience, Jeff Koons’ Phryne will place viewers amid a garden with one of his famous metallic ballerinas.

Float Collective, Liminal Realities | Courtesy of Acute Art.
Isaac Landon Cohen, Hydra | Courtesy of Acute Art.

“Our mission is to explore and enable the transition from art in the physical world into the boundless realm of Virtual Reality,” explains Acute Art on their website. “We want to provide a space where users can explore immersive art from any location in the world.”

VR Museum is available via the HTC VIVE store and the Acute Art website.

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