Wonderspaces Austin

  • 1205 Sheldon Cove #2A
  • ~30 minutes from Austin
  • Cost: $24
  • Hours: noon-10 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sun., closed Tues. Must reserve a time slot online.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Stepping out of the summer heat, Wonderspaces Austin feels like a blissfully cool cave. Going deeper into the art show reveals unique art and experiences.

Currently, there are 14 exhibits installed at the Austin location. General manager Brian Kief said the current must-see exhibits are “Sweet Spot” and “Human Study #1, 3RNP.”

Sweet Spot is 19 miles of colored strings, hung in a way to create a hypnotic display that shifts as the viewer moves around it.

“Sweet Spot has 24 different colors that are repeated over and over. It took over 1,000 hours for the artist to create this piece. It really works with optics and color diversion to get a better understanding of how we perceive color,” Kief said.

Three robots draw portraits of a Wonderspaces Austin visitor. (KXAN Photo/Cora Neas)

Human Study #1 is a participatory exhibit — a visitor sits for three robotic “artists” that sketch their portraits in 20 minutes.

“It’s really about taking the process of humanizing artwork as much as you can even from a robotics level,” Kief said.

But these exhibits are impermanent; over the coming weeks and months they will be replaced, as will the rest of Wonderspaces Austin.

“We rotate at least one new piece every four to six weeks. It gives a natural feeling to our show — that it’s ever evolving,” Kief said. “If you came back in nine months to a year, half of our artwork should be brand new to you.”

Installation of new pieces usually takes three days at most, Kief said. The art show never wants visitors to see a sign saying “under maintenance” or “installation in progress.” Tickets are only sold for days when all the show’s installations are complete.

“Our artists are from all over the world. They can’t be here every time that we want to install or maintain these pieces. So they go through a rigorous onboarding process in Los Angeles,” Kief said. “That’s where [Wonderspaces] create documentation on how to install, maintain and uninstall each piece.”

portraits hang on the wall
Portraits drawn by robots hang in sets of three. Each photo in a set was drawn by a separate robot of the same visitor. (KXAN Photo/Cora Neas)

This gallery shows some current and previous installations at Wonderspaces Austin:

  • Two people stand under a long arch built out of LED panels
  • Three people discuss an art exhibit, which is built out of spaced vertical layers of glass.
  • A person sits in front of three wooden desks with robotic arms
  • Several people sit in legless chairs while wearing VR headsets

According to Kief, 40% of Wonderspaces visitors have never been to an art show or museum.

Tickets cost $24 for a visit, which lasts until departure or closing time. Discounts are provided for children, students, teachers, healthcare workers, active military, veterans and seniors. One-year memberships cost $99 for unlimited visits, a 10% discount on a friend’s ticket and free cocktails for the member and their friend each visit.

The average visit to Wonderspaces Austin takes 75 minutes, according to the company’s website.

This story is part of a KXAN series highlighting Central Texas activities — you can see our full list on our “Central Texas Things to Do” page. Do you have an idea of something we should profile? Email us at reportit@kxan.com.