First Look: “Come in! 2: SURF. SKATE. BIKE.” at A+D Museum

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Nestled on a boulevard of towering high rises and hulking museums, the simple glass window front of the Architecture + Design Museum can be easily missed. But for all it lacks in square footage, A+D more than compensates with eye-grabbing conversation pieces at its latest exhibit, Come in! 2: SURF. SKATE. BIKE. 

Stepping off the sidewalk and onto the exhibit’s floor is like entering any adrenaline junkie’s dream. My eyes dashed wildly across the room, from the neon-rimmed bicycles to the pyramid of outdated television monitors playing video loops of skateboarders and over to the various forms of street art on display. A surreal noise coming implored me to investigate the gallery’s second room, which was dimly lit and unfurnished, except for horizontal light bulbs lined equidistant from one another across the room’s four walls. Around the room, the sound of rollerblades pulsates with growing frequency and volume, as if circling the area’s perimeter, each light flashing for just a second before the sound passes to the next bulb. Though a bit nausea-inducing if watched for prolonged periods of time, the one-of-a-kind feature is worth the $10 general admission fee alone.

This isn’t just an exhibition for scruffy-faced skater dudes dressed in flannel and sneakers; the show’s level of detailing—even the restrooms are graffitied!—goes a way towards creating a flushed-out experience for those who’ve never picked up a board. A pair of Nikes laced together dangles from a light fixture, capturing the street-like feel of skate’s urban roots. Surfboards hang from the ceiling of the museum’s window front. Beneath the boards, a makeshift sandbox gives the exhibit yet another layer of authenticity.

This sweeping tribute to “riding” is worth the trek down the Miracle Mile. But hurry, the exhibit closes July 24.