“I wanted to do something good,” says Flutter founder Chris Dowson. “I’d been reading about the mental health crisis we’re seeing and the rise of people suffering from anxiety and I started reading about the science behind visiting art museums and how good it is for you and your well being and how you feel better, your tolerance of others goes up. That’s when the penny dropped and I decided I just need to create a space and get great contemporary artists that we can showcase and try and present it in a way that’s accessible.”
In between Memorial Day and July 4 is a family cookout of another kind at Flutter, the recently opened exhibition in Los Angeles through November. Jacolby Satterwhite’s VR Family Cookout, an immersive environment of dance and color, is just one of 15 installations featuring a roster of media ranging from painting and sculpture to sound, projection and motion mapping. For those who have dreamed of patting the back of a six-foot sphinx, artist Katie Stout makes it a reality. And for those who just want to dance with their own shadow, check out Illusion by Laia Cabrera and Isabelle Duverger.
Taking a cue from Yayoi Kusama, whose mirror rooms are ubiquitous on the internet, Dowson decided to fill Flutter with eye-catching installations that would generate a wave of free publicity on social media. To do so, he recruited curator Karen Robonovitz, a board member at both the Brooklyn Museum and The Bronx Museum of New York and founder of Digital Brand Architects, an influencer management firm.
In addition to those already mentioned, Flutter artists include Jillian Mayer, whose enormous chimes resonate throughout the space, Saya Woolfalk and her psychedelic projections, Leah Guadagnoli, Cyril Lancelin, Elise Peterson, Guillermo Santoma, Job Piston, the team of Charlap Hyman & Herrero, and Liz Collins, whose darkened space is overrun with day-glo film strips from the 1982 cult movie, Liquid Sky.
“That film, I kind of held onto it as a resource in a way that was inspiring to me both in the narrative that's crazy and campy, it's an early gender fluid kind of film, and then the aliens and the sci-fi and this whole idea of euphoria that comes in sort of different ways,” says Collins of a project that is an iteration of an installation she did at New York’s New Museum with a lightning bolt doorway and a wall in red leather. “When I set out to do it, I contacted [director] Slava Tsukerman, sought him out, met with him over coffee and told him what I wanted to do and he was into it.”
Digital media duo Laia Cabrera and Isabelle Duverger offer Illusion, a space flooded with projections and mapping systems, carving shadows in bubbly or fire patterns that move in sync with the viewer.
“We think it’s important to bring storytelling to the art world and make it more attractive and try to have a journey,” says Cabrera who, with Duverger, was behind similar interactive projections at New York’s Armory Week as well as a 72 foot long installation on the windows of the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Times Square last fall. “You have an artist’s realization and that kind of connects to you and interacts with you and you’re an actor with it. With Flutter we wanted to bring immersive but interactive. It’s very interesting for us as storytellers to try to incorporate that technology.”
Flutter Phase 2 begins in the autumn, no word yet on what it will bring other than more installations, but with a different theme. Tickets to the current show run a prohibitive $28 and come with the comforting knowledge that proceeds from an auction of works donated by the artists will go to Born This Way Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to empowering youth, co-founded by Lady Gaga and her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, who serve as advisors on the project.