New York City has recently been home to some of the best immersive art exhibitions to date, featuring the work of legendary post-Impressionist artist Vincent Van Gogh. With two competing experiences, “Immersive Van Gogh” and “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” vie for viewership with passive-aggressive comparisons and equally exquisite displays.
One hundred and thirty-one years after the tragic, self-inflicted death of a virtually unknown artist who had only sold one painting in his life, Van Gogh has become a worldwide sensation, posthumously credited for his revolutionary influence on post-impressionism and universally admired. The curators and producers of these highly anticipated exhibits have become experts in artist-themed immersive experiences, having to celebrate Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt, Paul Cèzanne, and Wassily Kandinsky.
“Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” has taken up residence in a complex near the World Trade Center. It features massive projections and three-dimensional versions of some of Van Gogh’s best work, including a full-scale diorama of The Bedroom. Additionally, “The Immersive Experience” features a Virtual Reality (VR) segment as well as a massive gift shop that rivals the size of the entire projection room in “Immersive Van Gogh.”
“Immersive Van Gogh” is more of a walkthrough in a warehouse on the banks of the East River near Manhattan Bridge. Projections are distributed across two antechambers and one grand hall, projecting images onto abstract sculptures arranged to enhance is the art’s dimensions. A delightful mashup of classical composition and pop music accompanies both exhibits.
While Van Gogh’s art alone is enough to inspire awe and admiration, scholar Eric G. Wilson accredits his success more to his life and personality. “Everyone loves a good train wreck…” he states, thus the man, as well as his work, seem to have created a twisted mix of curiosity and adoration. He compares the draw of art connoisseurs to Van Gogh to the draw of literary pundits to Edgar Allen Poe.
Whether you consider yourself a patron of the arts or not, these exhibits are sure to transport you to another world. The topsy-turvy, flexible and exaggerated reality of Vincent Van Gogh masterfully demonstrated in these immersive experiences bring honor and appreciation to the memory of one of the most influential artists in modern history.