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  • Rosie Roche

Louvre Fantastique - a mall experience

I had high hopes of the sort of immersive media art projection shows I have heard lots about but not been to. I know the arguments for and against - these virtual shows democratize art, some cry, making artworks accessible without the forbidding pillars and porticos of the major art galleries; not so, tickets are as expensive to these knock-off shows as to the real thing and sitting in slide show of sunflowers is not at all the same as seeing a real Van Gogh, retort others.

At $20 in, Louvre Fantastique in Oakbrook mall is cheaper than flying to Paris, but that’s all it has in its favor. In the old Sears building, metal curtain racks covered in blacks separate the gallery from the rest of the disused old store. Odd walls appear randomly in strange shapes to hold pasteboard copies of art classics. You can put arms on the Venus de Milo.

The one piece I really liked was a 3D wooden ropes and pulley set of a sea scene with boats in port, cavorting nymphs and watery cherubim, waves, and clouds that could each be moved across the scene like early theatre sets. That was fun and made sense as an interactive, moving a scene that captures movement. Less successful was the inevitable glass pyramid that you get to walk through as a tunnel. Good for a photo op I guess. There was a battle scene triptych that could be rotated in columns, like those board books of different heads, bodies and legs. Fun but didn’t help make a scene of different stages of a battle any more comprehensible, or the art any easier to appreciate.

I really don’t get it. I had high hopes and was disappointed. It felt like the organizers did the least possible to simulate the Louvre, and it is no way worth the price of admission, unless a poster of the Mona Lisa on a fabricated wall could make anyone feel they were transported to Paris.


Making its world premiere in Chicagoland’s Oakbrook Mall at 2120 Oakbrook Center, this unique exhibition allows patrons to experience firsthand the world’s most famous art collection, in a newly reimagined way where art comes to life. Louvre Fantastique: The Exhibition provides an innovative interpretation of over 70 masterpieces from the Louvre Museum in Paris, including Jacques Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii, Raphael’s Young Woman on a Balcony, a three-piece animation of The Winged Victory of Samothrace, a three-dimensional replication of the Louvre Museum pyramid exhibit-goers can actually enter and walk through, and an homage to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Visitors will now have the chance to engage with the artwork in ways that were never before possible through the use of projection mapping, three-dimensional recreations, augmented reality elements using smartphones, and hands-on interactive features. Audio guides for both adults and children under the age of 12 are available within each ticket price. For more information or to purchase tickets today, please visit

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