THE LUME: Dalí Alive

Pieces of Dalí’s works projected on the surroundings of THE LUME. Photo by Gianna Cassin


Stepping onto the fourth floor of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, an aroma of patchouli blanc fills the air. Newfields worked with ScentAir to create this soothing, spicy and earthy aroma. The walls and floor are filled with moving images from over 120 projectors, displaying images of artist Salvador Dalí’s artwork and life. Accompanying music adds to the encapsulating experience. 

Jonathan Berger, vice president of marketing and external affairs for Newfields and executive producer of the event, sees this exhibition as an outlier amongst other immersive art exhibits. 

“This is a way that you can interact with [the art],” Berger said “You can move about the space, have a cocktail, an empanada, read some didactics and then see the real artwork. When you look at THE LUME, you’re awed by the technology, but then when you get to that final gallery, and you’re looking at art on the wall, we’ve kind of tricked you into becoming an art lover. That’s our goal here to get you to love art the same way that we do.” 

Along with the artwork and descriptions of Dalí’s life, food and drink are incorporated into this fully immersive experience. “El Mercado Surreal,” featured just after the first section of the exhibit, is a café that serves traditional Spanish foods such as Iberian ham sandwiches, empanadas and cocktails inspired by Spain. 

In the interactive activity space, “Let’s Get Surreal,” visitors can create their own AI-generated images with elements of Dalí’s style, as well as take photos in their 3D photo backdrops. 

At the tail end of the experience, four original Dalí watercolor paintings are on display. It is the first time these pieces have been shown together to the public since 1979. These works include “The Elephants”, “Tragedy and Comedy”, “Musicians”, and “Apotheosis.” 

Mattie Wethington, director of communications for Newfields, encourages all Butler students to take advantage of this opportunity. 

“I want everyone to see how this immersive experience brings those paintings to life,” Wethington said. “Maybe you haven’t seen a Dalí painting before. This is the type of experience that really lets you get up close and personal to these artworks. To be able to see those [pieces] at the end and really appreciate the artist that he was and how iconic and just out of this world he really was is a lot of fun.” 

Frances Anderson, a senior arts administration and art and design double major, had been to Newfields’s THE LUME exhibitions featuring Van Gogh and Monet, but felt this one was different. 

“Initially, I’m in shock,” Anderson said. “This is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There are more unique features and different aspects. I love Dalí; he’s one of my favorites, and I think a lot of the interactive part really ties into his work and it’s really cohesive and cool.” 

On the other hand, sophomore marketing major Morgan Buss had never been to THE LUME before visiting the Dalí exhibit. 

“Walking in, I was just amazed by how immersive the whole thing was, and there were so many moving parts,” Buss said. “I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.” 

The exhibit will run from March 3 through the end of the calendar year. Butler students can enjoy a free membership to the museum by bringing in their current student ID, which grants them a membership card, which has to be renewed every year. Without a membership, tickets are $29, whereas with a membership they are $22. Tickets can be purchased online or in person.


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