Pop Culture

Dance By the Light of the "moonGARDEN" at Discovery Green

Discovery Green's new temporary installation, "moonGARDEN," includes a trio of interactive Exposure spheres. Draw on the surface with light or even turn the light on yourself to view a selfie on the orb's surface.
Discovery Green's new temporary installation, "moonGARDEN," includes a trio of interactive Exposure spheres. Draw on the surface with light or even turn the light on yourself to view a selfie on the orb's surface. Photo courtesy of Lucion
When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore. But when 22 gigantic glowing spheres park themselves at Discovery Green, that sends us over the moon.

It's not the first time that Montreal art collective Lucion has installed illuminated spheres around the world, but it's certainly a first for Texas. And we still get bragging rights for having the largest exhibition in the United States.

Susanne Theis, Discovery Green's programming director, says the artists at Lucion think of the groupings as families, with a family of three spheres being placed across from the Monument au Fantôme sculpture by Jean Dubuffet. "We have a grouping of about six in the Lindsey Waterside Landing next to the Dubuffet and right across the street will be three on the Avenida. Our other three families will be located in the heart of the park on Jones Lawn, near the array of live oaks, and on the [Sarofim] Picnic Lawn."

click to enlarge
The "moonGARDEN" spheres range in size from six to 30 feet in diameter.
Photo courtesy of Lucion
The globes range in size from six to 30 feet in diameter and half of them will feature shadow theaters with illustrations related to Discovery Green or Houston (think Astrodome and our downtown skyline). And, for the first time ever, one of the largest spheres will have translucent peekaboo windows so that visitors will be able to see the mechanics inside.

During the day the temporary installation will appear as clusters of white vinyl orbs scattered throughout the park. But for six magical hours, from 6 p.m. until midnight during the exhibition's run, the lights will be activated and that's when the fun begins.

It looks like the programming staff had a few giggles when planning the related programming for this exhibit, and that's a good thing. The Grove is serving up Moon Pies and moonshine cocktails, there's a pajama party for kids with a reading of Goodnight, Moon, and opening night festivities include a screening of Moonstruck and stargazing with the Astrological Society.

And, to celebrate love and lovers, Discovery Green has planned a date night Moon Dance with dance lessons from local pros. "We’re saying it’s for people, whether they've been together 50 years or it's a first date. Bring your sweetie," says Theis, who says there will be three or four dance groups on the stage and it's not just for watching; it's interactive. "There’s everything from big band swing to salsa and tango."

They're building the sound track now — expect to hear "all the moon songs" — and Inprint's Poetry Buskers will be on hand reciting odes to love and playing cupid. "You can ask [a busker], you can commission a poet to write a poem, if you're shy or you can't find the right words."

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Projectors and LED lights cast shadows on the vinyl walls; as the lights move and flash, the images appear to dance.
Photo courtesy of Lucion
Theis says pairing local performers with this international exhibit is a nice way to show how artists respond to and interact with the sculptures. Discovery Green also has been partnering with the Houston Museum of Natural Science (they're bringing their Discovery Dome Planetarium) and — to celebrate next year's 50th anniversary of man setting foot on the moon — opening night festivities include a visit by some astronauts with their gear.

Grab something to eat or drink at The Grove (Moon Pies and moonshine cocktails) or from the Lake House's outdoor café, then find a seat at the moonGARDEN Lounge presented by IKEA Houston and enjoy front row seats to the largest family of spheres.

"moonGARDEN" is scheduled for 6 p.m. to midnight September 29-October 7, Discovery Green, 1500 McKinney, 713-400-7336, discoverygreen.com/moongarden.

"moonGARDEN" special events:

September 29, 7:30-10 p.m., Performance of Lyrical by Cirque la Vie on the Avenida Wharf, screening of 1988's Moonstruck, and stargazing with the Astrological Society, free

September 29-30 and October 4-7, noon to 10 p.m., The Lake House outdoor café will be open

September 30, 7:30-10 p.m., Moon Dance date night with lessons by Dance Houston on the Anheuser-Busch Stage, Inprint's poetry buskers and more, free

October 1-3, 7 p.m., Twilight Tours with an artist from the Montreal art collective Lucion, free

October 5, 7-9 p.m., Pajama party with free milk and cookies for the first 100 children, a reading of Goodnight, Moon, and a visit by the Houston Museum of Natural Science's Discovery Dome Planetarium, free

October 7, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Sunday Supper at The Grove, $100 per person
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Susie Tommaney is a contributing writer who enjoys covering the lively arts and culture scene in Houston and surrounding areas, connecting creative makers with the Houston Press readers to make every week a great one.
Contact: Susie Tommaney