Tiffany Nguyen and Ru Baruda, 16, at the “Loop” in CityCenter. The pair came from Alexandria to see the installation. (Savannah Stephens/The Washington Post)

Art in unexpected places has become the new normal for places vying to turn into the next Instagram sensation. But Instagram art doesn’t have to be a bad thing — and it certainly isn’t at the new “Loop” exhibition at CityCenter.

Loosely based off fairy tales like Snow White and Puss in Boots, the “Loop” is essentially six giant, whimsical zoetropes — a spinning toy that creates an optical illusion of motion. It also incorporates sounds and light to immerse you in the work of artists Olivier Girouard and Jonathan Villeneuve.

Both artists create pieces that move the audience, figuratively and literally. Sit in the zoetrope, pull a lever and watch as a castle grows then shrinks all around you, or an outstretched hand with an apple zooms in and out. The speed at which the lever is pulled also dictates the lights and sounds inside. The sounds, described as music boxes, and the flickering lights are supposed to hark back to the early days of moviemaking.

Outside each large circle is another loop of animation, so passersby don’t have to pull the lever to see the action, but it’s certainly much more enjoyable inside, where the immersive quality of sitting in the loop is highest.

The exterior, of course, has the best angles for Instagramming.

Therein lies the fun of the “Loop” — it’s not a serious mediation on art or whether Cinderella has feminist themes. It’s just enjoyable.


Antonieta Lima, 51, pulls the lever at the “Loop” in CityCenter. (Savannah Stephens/The Washington Post)

Last Wednesday night, right as the sun was about to set, about eight people were checking out the installations. “It’s pretty neat to see these here,” Antonieta Lima, 51, said, as she was waiting for her car-sharing service. Some visitors were carrying bags from the shops within CityCenter, and a few tourists stopped to gawk at the circles. Others took the chance to snap a few selfies there.

After its debut Montreal in 2016, the exhibition went on to other locations, including New York, before its stop in the District. It’s slated to be in the city until Sept. 16.

If you go
Loop

CityCenter, 1098 New York Ave. NW.

Dates: Through Sept. 16.

Prices: Free.