Recently I wrote a post about art in space. Something about the idea of sending art somewhere so vast and unexplored is intriguing. A couple of recent museum openings have highlighted another largely unexplored region where we have put art: in our oceans. There is something deeply fascinating about these new subaquatic and submarine art museums.
Museum of Underwater Art, Australia
You may already be familiar with the subaquatic sculptures of Jason deCaires Taylor. Taylor has been a pioneer in the emergence of environmentally-conscious and subaquatic art. His first underwater art museum, Molinere Underwater Sculpture Park, was built in 2006 in the Molinere Beauséjour Marine Protected Area, Grenada.
Since National Geographic named that installation one of their 25 Wonders of the World, Taylor has placed his work in and under bodies of water around the world. They enchant viewers from the Thames to the Bahamas to the coast of the Indonesian island of Gili Meno.
Taylor’s most recent project was the Museum of Underwater Art, which is located in the Great Barrier Reef of Australia. A drop off in tourism from COVID-19 has delayed the official opening of this subaquatic sculpture museum, but the sculptures are in place and ready to attract the sea life that is expected to take up residence on and around them. It’s only a matter of time before human divers have a chance to visit.
The installation includes submerged sculptures spread out over multiple parts of the reef and one, called Ocean Siren, that looks out over the ocean and changes color as the ocean’s temperature changes.
Interested in learning more about Jason deCaires Taylor’s inspiration? Watch his TED Talk:
La Base Sous-Marine, France
Another unique new place to view art, La Base Sous-Marine in Bordeaux, France, also explores the strange relationship between humanity, art, and our oceans, albeit more subtly.
While not underwater, this concrete exhibition space began as a Nazi U-boat base during World War II. What started out as a launch point for submarine warfare has become the world’s largest digital art gallery. The interior of the bunker has taken on an otherworldly quality. Projections of art pieces shimmer on its walls and reflect in the water of its huge basins.
After its own COVID-19 delay, La Base Sous-Marine opened on June 10th. The first art pieces being projected are the work of Gustav Klimt, Paul Klee, and Egon Schiele, but a new group of artists will replace them next year, according to the Smithsonian Magazine.