An immersive experience: THE LUME displays Monet works 

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According to Indianapolis Museum of Art Vice President of Marketing and External Affairs Jonathan Berger, the Claude Monet exhibit at THE LUME is a full sensory experience. 

THE LUME recently switched its inaugural exhibit of Vincent van Gogh to one featuring French painter Claude Monet in a display called “Monet & Friends Alive.” The Monet exhibit opened July 3. THE LUME is on the fourth floor of the Indianapolis Museum of Art with 30,000 square feet of projection space. It is the largest continuous exhibition in the museum’s 139-year history. THE LUME opened in 2021 with the Vincent van Gogh exhibit that ran from July 27, 2021, through May of this year. The museum spent the month of June prepping for the Monet exhibit. 

Berger said upon entering the Monet exhibit, visitors are greeted with a floral aroma.

“THE LUME is a fully immersive experience,” Berger said. “When you walk into that first big gallery space, you’ll see these amazing images of ‘Monet & Friends’ and hear the music, of course, too. There are various classical tracks to go along that rise and fall with the images. When you see those Monet garden paintings, you’ll have this floral fragrance in there. It’s totally immersive.” 

Berger, executive producer of THE LUME, said the exhibit makes the museum less intimidating.  

“I studied art, so I’m a lover of art. A large museum, any large museum, can be somewhat intimidating to people if you’re curious about art but don’t really know where to start,” Berger said. “I think that THE LUME really de-mystifies that museum for a lot of people. You can go up to the fourth floor and explore and engage in art differently. When you come into THE LUME, these images are larger than life. There’s a floor projection and all the walls. It’s just a different way to explore art.”

A Parisian café sells on the fourth floor sells French-inspired snacks and adult beverages. Some cocktails include a French gimlet and THE LUME and Tonic, with flower buds frozen in the ice cubes. 

“When the ice melts, these flowers bloom in your drink,” Berger said. “It’s a really tasty cocktail and really in line with Monet and that style of en plein air.” 

At the end of the Monet exhibit, the museum’s collection of Monet work is on display. 

“I like to use the phrase ‘skim, swim, dive,’” Berger said. “You come in and skim and enjoy the art for what it is, the projection and music and aroma. Then there’s those parts that ‘I don’t want to skim, I want to swim.’ I want to go a little deeper. You can interact deeper. In that final gallery, that’s where you really dive in and can look at the real artwork, the real Monet.” 

Berger said the IMA chose Monet as the exhibit for 2022 because the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Newfields campus is a place for nature and the arts. 

“Our mission is to have exceptional experiences with arts and nature,” Berger said. “I can’t think of a better artist that really identifies with that. You have Monet, the father of Impressionism, that did these great paintings outside in nature. That was all part of that Impressionist movement.”

Berger said the innovation of putting paint in tubes meant artists could venture into the world and paint anywhere. 

“Monet would take two or three canvases with him to get the changing light of the day,” he said. 

THE LUME is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. It is closed Mondays. Tickets are $29 and include general admission to the IMA. IMA tickets do not include general admission to THE LUME. 

For more, visit discovernewfields.org. 

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