Image: Forest Casey
If you're hankering for an unusual outing in Los Angeles, look no further than the Velaslavasay Panorama. Home to the only panorama west of the Mississippi and the only one painted since the nineteenth century, the Velaslavasay is the art form's newest entry in its long and illustrious history. Panorama paintings were antiquity's preferred immersive medium, predating film, VR and a much cheaper sightseeing trip than hopping aboard a train.
From the Velaslavasay Panorama website:
The Velaslavasay Panorama panoramic exhibition encircles the spectator within a fully enveloping atmosphere; a vast painting of a continuous surrounding landscape, accompanied by sound stimulation and three-dimensional elements, affords the viewer an opportunity to experience a complete sensory phenomenon. Historically, the panorama was an immersive 360-degree painted environment, often including a three-dimensional faux terrain in the foreground of the painting to enhance the illusion of depth and simulated reality. An early ancestor of the motion picture, the captivated public would visit these paintings-in-the-round as an entertainment or novelty, much along the same lines as the cinema is seen today.
Panoramas were widely accessible, extremely popular (and were lambasted for being so by art critics) and immensely entertaining. The decline in the proliferation of panoramas came about following the spread of cinema and became largely forgotten about, at least in the United States. Enter the Velaslavasay Panorama, first founded by Sara Velas in Hollywood and now located in West Adams. The Velaslavasay has both preserved and updated the medium, incorporating light and sound for a completely immersive panoramic experience.
Come see the precursor to virtual reality and film in person! The current installation is a painting depicting the city of Shengjing, China from 1910-1930 featuring a miniature 3D terrain. The Velaslavasay Panorama also features a living garden, a theater and additional auxiliary exhibits.
The layout of the Shengjing Panorama. Photo courtesy of Velaslavasay Panorama
The Velaslavasay Panorama
1122 West 24th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007
On View Weekly
11 am 'til 5pm
Suggested donation of $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors