Feel ASMR tingles at this new video art exhibit in Times Square

Behind the closed doors of 1500 Broadway, the music, sirens and whistles blaring through Times Square fall mercifully quiet. Instead, soft ambient music and a sense of stillness fill this new temporary gallery called ASMR: Video Art Pop-Up

Home to 48 video artworks, the gallery’s designed as a soothing respite with artwork inspired by ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) sensations. It’s intended as a place to trigger a feeling of well-being and relaxation amid the hustle and bustle of the city. You can visit for free through March 4. 

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Inside the gallery, you’ll see 48 pieces of video artwork presented on digital screens about the size of an iPad. For example, there’s a piece called “Melt” by Pat Flynn that shows a simulation of melting virtual cheese. It’s surprisingly enchanting and retails for $1,000. A piece by Rashaad Newsome titled “Whose Booty is This” loops twerking videos. “The pulsating imagery of computer-generated diasporic fractals are inspired by the geometry within traditional African culture,” a card at the gallery explained. You can buy a copy for $320.  

Pat Flynn_Melt_2020_Courtesy the artist and Daata
Photograph: Courtesy of ASMR: Video Art Pop-Up | Pat Flynn_Melt_2020_Courtesy the artist and Daata

Other pieces showcase line drawings, an abstraction of Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn,” a BIC lighter ejecting mystical contents, Dutch florals and selfies. 

“The idea is that by looking at these images, you’re going to have a physical response, whether it be a tingling pleasure or a feeling that really is a bodily response to these works. In order to evoke those reactions, some of the works are very happy, but some of them take a more sinister edge. Either they’re imbued with humor or darkness in order to really produce a reaction and a response,” says Tiffany Zabludowicz, director of Daata.

 ASMR: Video Art Pop-Up inside the gallery
Photograph: Courtesy of ASMR: Video Art Pop-Up

Daata, a platform that focuses on digital art, created the pop-up in collaboration with Infinite Objects, a New York-based start-up that offers video art prints. 

For Zabludowicz, hosting the exhibit in Times Square was a perfect fit.  

A woman looks at ASMR: Video Art Pop-Up
Photograph: Courtesy of ASMR: Video Art Pop-Up

“For me, Times Square is actually an extension of the internet and digital space. Because it is the area with the most webcams in the world, so wherever you are, you’re inside a panopticon actually,” she says, explaining that even when you’re in Times Square’s physical space, you’re also in digital space because there are so many screens. “So to place a digital art show in that context felt really relevant.”

She also hopes ASMR will offer a place for a calming break for anybody who works there or walks through the busy area. 

 Alwin Lay_BIC Maxi Short_2019_Courtesy the artist and Daata
Photograph: Courtesy of ASMR: Video Art Pop-Up | Alwin Lay_BIC Maxi Short_2019_Courtesy the artist and Daata

For those who feel inspired to buy a piece to take home, they’ll get the physical object, a certificate of authentication and a video file that can be played on a TV, computer or phone. Prices range from $320 to $15,000. As for the feeling of calmness you’ll feel when you walk through the gallery, that’s priceless. 

See ASMR: Video Art Pop-Up at 1500 Broadway in Times Square Wednesday through Saturday from 12pm-6pm through March 4, 2023. 

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