California’s Immersive Art Exhibits Are Worth Seeing

Perhaps, as our interactions are increasingly mediated by screens, you seek to immerse yourself in the tangible world, to awaken all your senses. Or, maybe you just want a cool photo for social media.

Either way, California can satisfy your craving.

The state has a growing number of immersive art exhibits that, as the name suggests, overwhelm the viewer like a fun house. These increasingly popular installations allow you to step into the deep blue of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or visit the world’s most trippy supermarket, filled with bizarre products made by artists.

Today, I share a selection of immersive art exhibitions around the Golden State:

“A Forest for Trees” by Glenn Kaino — Los Angeles

This show, which started last week, takes visitors through a surreal forest inside a 28,000 square foot Boyle Heights warehouse. The forest features real redwood trees, as well as hand-crafted sculptures, animatronic robots, and glittering installations.

Its creator and director, Los Angeles artist Glenn Kaino, wants audiences to reimagine their relationship with the natural world. He told the Los Angeles Times that the project was his most ambitious yet.

“I feel like I’ve worked my entire career to learn the skills and tools to even try to design this idea, not to mention accomplishing it with a level of quality,” he said.

“Immersive Frida Kahlo” —San Francisco and Los Angeles

The works of the iconic Mexican artist come to life in nine cities across the country. The show loosely traces Kahlo’s life and features her famous self-portraits and vivid surreal pieces.

Learn more about shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

“Light field at Sensorio” by Bruce Munro — Paso Robles

This mind-blowing show has attracted thousands of tourists and has become an Instagram phenomenon since it opened in 2019.

Visitors arrive on the grounds at dusk, “when thousands of solar-powered glass orbs on stalks, created by artist Bruce Munro, envelop visitors in a hue-changing terrestrial aurora borealis,” my colleague wrote. Patricia Leigh Brown in The Times.

“The subtly shifting patterns of this light safari, activated by a nebula of fiber optic cables attached to hidden spotlights, seem to inspire cathedral awe among ticket holders.”

Today’s tip comes from Pelle P. Smits, who recommends the Wilder Ranch State Park near Santa Cruz:

“The park grew out of the grazing division of Mission Santa Cruz in the 1830s, becoming the Mexican Rancho Refugio, before the milkman DD Wilder acquired a significant portion of the land, becoming today’s Wilder Ranch State Park. Many ranch houses, including several adobes, have been preserved and restored and their history can be uncovered while exploring the park. The paths in the area allow pleasant walks, hikes and cycle paths along the cliffs. Wilder and Strawberry beaches and their surrounding rock formations are often occupied by hundreds of resting seals while giving way to stunning coastal views. The park is a habitat for a variety of bird species, with low ocean tides revealing the park’s additional wealth of starfish, sea urchins, whales and sea otters.”

Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to We will share more in future editions of the newsletter.

What do you want to know about the June primary elections in California? Email us your questions at

After arriving at their friends’ wedding in Burbank, Dr. Vivian Esther Yee and Joshua Kent Ma quickly discovered that they would be paired as bridesmaid and groomsman.

The two, who hadn’t met before the 2017 wedding, also learned they were the only single members of the wedding party.

“Obviously we were framed,” Ma told The Times.

The pairing of their friends worked. Last month, nearly five years after that first meeting, Yee and Ma had their own wedding.

Thanks for reading. I will be back tomorrow. — Soumya

PS Here today’s mini crosswordand a clue: Meat on a skewer (5 letters).

William E. Bennett