Maryellis Bunn’s Museum of Ice Cream is an immersive, Jeff Koons–esque installation that challenges both traditional ideas of taste and style and the boundaries between so-called high art and popular culture.
Nah, just kidding. It’s mostly an excuse to take some fire IG pics.
The extremely hyped, Willy Wonka–inspired exhibit debuted in New York last year, selling out tickets in a matter of days. The Los Angeles version is in a warehouse on Seventh Place in the Arts District and is four times larger than its predecessor. Loaded up with corporate sponsors — including Dove Chocolate and American Express (the Official Card of the Museum of Ice Cream) — and a full press blitz, the new exhibit aims to outdo the original.
Walking into the museum, you’re greeted by a pumped tour guide in a pink T-shirt and jeans, who invites you to enter an even pinker room filled with rotary phones to begin your “ice cream journey.” Upon picking up the line, the recorded voice of a certain celebrity stoner cajoles you to literally scream for ice cream. (I thought about it.)
From there, you make your way to the California Room, which is largely forgettable except for the free sample of McConnell’s Sea Salt Cream & Cookies (v. tasty). Next comes a “banana split,” an installation that press materials boast is “comprised of ten thousand ‘bananas.’” I was unable to independently verify that number, but it was eminently Instagrammable.
Other highlights include a mint “grow house” built like an actual grow room, with rows of mint planted in a bed of cacao beans. (It smelled dank.) The melted popsicle jungle and psychedelic gummy bear hall do not disappoint, and will both make excellent additions to your Snap story.
Lest you think the exhibit is all whimsy and free samples, an installation by artist Abel Benton features jet-black ice cream cones violently plastered to the wall and atop the fallen head of a Hellenistic statue. One pink-clad museum guide kindly described the piece to me as a “take on chaos and corruption on something innocent.” (I nodded.)
The tour culminates with the ultimate Candyland fantasy — a sprinkles pool! Museum patrons are welcome to take of their shoes and jump in. Personally, I was a little disappointed that the pool is just a few feet deep and only went up to about my knees, but I don’t want to understate how satisfying it is to jump into a pool full of rainbow sprinkles.
The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily (except Tuesdays) from April 22 through Oct. 16. Tickets are on sale here and cost $29 per person, $18 for children or seniors. Two ice cream tastings are included with the price of admission.
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