Van Gogh immersive experience

The Van Gogh Immersive Experience Is Just About Everywhere

The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit is finally open in the USA. You may have seen something similar in the Netflix series “Emily In Paris” (the “Faux Amis”episode), where she visits the Atelier des Lumiéres. 

EMILY IN PARIS

Well, essentially think of this as the North American run of the same show – just add a couple of artistic tweaks, masks, social distancing, and multiple locations.

What Is The Van Gogh Immersive Experience?

The Van Gogh Immersive Experience exhibit boasts 500,000 cubic feet of projections of Van Gogh paintings and 60,600 video frames set to hauntingly beautiful music. 24 computers control 74 projectors, and over 155 million pixels are displayed. The North American debut of this exhibit took place in Toronto in July 2020, where 200,000 people safely ventured through the magical experience.

Van Gogh Immersive Sunflowers

The current incarnation of this spellbinding exhibit is produced by Corey Ross from Starvox Entertainment and Svetlana Dvoretsky from Show One Productions. The creative machine behind this massive undertaking is comprised of: Massimiliano Siccardi (artistic director), Vittorio Guidotti (animator), and Luca Longobardi (composer). *I must say that I’ve quickly become a fan of Luca’s work beyond this project. You can check out a Spotify playlist I’ve assembled of my fave Longobardi songs HERE.
**Please note: It seems as though animated Van Gogh projections are a hot property these days, and there are multiple exhibits by multiple production companies throughout the United States, but for purposes of this specific piece, I will only be referring to The Van Gogh Immersive Experience. It’s easy to get them mixed up, so pay attention!

Where Is The Van Gogh Immersive Experience?

The Van Gogh Immersive Experience will be in the following cities in the US: Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Denver, Nashville, Kansas City, Orlando, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland, Columbus,  San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Minneapolis. Let’s get into the specifics for each city so you don’t miss out. (*NOTE – The following are locations that currently have announced venues).

Los Angeles Van Gogh Immersive 2

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Chicago: Currently open at the Lighthouse ArtSpace at the historic Germania Club in Gold Coast, Chicago. Tickets can be purchased HERE for dates running through November 28th, 2021(Extended through February 6th 2022), and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99. They even have a special Date Night package that is available for purchase. Check out the options HERE.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience San Francisco: Currently open and running until November 7th, 2021 (Extended until January 3rd, 2022). It is at the SVN West – San Francisco (formerly the legendary Fillmore West). Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99. (**Please note that in compliance with city’s vaccine mandate, proof of vaccination will be required for entry)

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Los Angeles: Currently open and running until January 2nd, 2022(Extended through February 6th, 2022). Tickets for the location, at the former Amoeba Records store on Sunset Blvd., can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience NYC: Currently open and running through January 2nd,  2022. It is being held at Pier 36 NYC, a 75,000 square foot waterfront space located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. To assist in reimagining this tremendous venue, they have recruited Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated designer David Korins. Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $74.99.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Charlotte: Currently open and running until October 31st, 2021 (Extended through January 2nd, 2022). It’s being held at the Ford Building at Camp North End (a former Ford Motors factory). Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99. Tickets for kids start at $29.99

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Denver: Currently open and running until February 6th, 2022. It’s being held at the Lighthouse Denver – inside the former Regency Hotel, just west of the River North Art District. Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Dallas: Currently open and running until November 28th, 2021 (Extended though January 3rd, 2022). It is being housed at The Lighthouse Dallas (in The East Quarter). Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Houston: Currently open and running until February 6th, 2022. It is being housed at a spectacular 25,000 sq. foot exhibit space. They have recruited renowned set designer, Rowan Doyle, known for his work on Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition, and The Museum of Ice Cream in NYC. Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Nashville: Opening February 17th, 2022 and running until April 17th, 2022. It is being housed at a spectacular 25,000 sq. foot exhibit space. Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Minneapolis: Currently open and running until November 19th, 2021 (Extended through February 6th, 2022). It is being housed at The Lighthouse Minneapolis. Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Orlando: Currently open and running until January 9th, 2022. It is being housed at the Orange County Convention Center (West Concourse). Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Las Vegas: Currently open and running until November 28th, 2021 (Extended through March 13th, 2022). It is being held at The Shops at Crystals adjacent to ARIA Resort & Casino. Tickets can be purchased HERE and start at $59.99 (plus fees).

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Pittsburgh: Currently open and running until February 6th, 2022. It is being held at Lighthouse Artspace Pittsburgh. Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Cleveland: Currently open and running until February 6th, 2022. It is being held at Lighthouse Artspace Cleveland. Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99.

Van Gogh Immersive Experience Columbus: Currently open and running until February 6th, 2022. It is being held in a 25,00 sq. foot exhibit space. Tickets can be purchased HERE and range in price from $39.99 – $54.99.

In all locations masks are required for the roughly 45 minute walk through the exhibit, and projected circles on the flooring help insure social distancing. To further insure safety, the surfaces are subjected to continuous cleaning. As with everything during this damn pandemic, things can change so be aware.

Los Angeles Van Gogh Immersive 1

Which Van Gogh Paintings Are Featured?

Although Van Gogh was a highly prolific painter (he painted at least 900 paintings), images used in the exhibit are based on mainly four pieces made during the post-impressionist’s short 37 years on the planet. They are: Mangeurs de pommes de terre (“The Potato Eaters”, 1885),  Les Tournesols (“Sunflowers”, 1888), Nuit étoilée (“Starry Night”, 1889), and my fave –  La Chambre à Coucher (“The Bedroom”, 1888). Here are some little known facts about each piece that you can arm yourself with before attending the exhibit, which are sure to make this a truly immersive experience:

 The Potato Eaters 

Mangeurs de pommes de terre

  •  While living in the Netherland town of Neunen, Van Gogh painted 20 studies of Gordina de Groot, the young woman also pictured in the “The Potato Eaters” family group. In the painting above, she is the young woman seated  second from the left. Van Gogh was actually accused of impregnating Gordina (turns out it wasn’t his) and the local parish priest wasn’t having it. He essentially forbade his parishioners to sit for Van Gogh and Vincent was basically run out of town. 
  • Van Gogh had a bit of an obsession painting the poor and downtrodden. Part of this can be traced back to his time spent as an evangelical missionary, proselytizing to the miserable residents of the Borinage region of Belgium, who toiled day and night in the Marcasse coal mines. It was then, in 1879  – after being “relieved” of his religious duties, Van Gogh the missionary became Van Gogh the painter.  
  • “The Potato Eaters,” has been stolen not once, but two times. In 1989, daring art thieves snatched an early version of the painting from the Kroller-Muller Museum in the Netherlands, along with two other Van Gogh paintings.  The final version of “The Potato Eaters” painting was part of a group of 20 artworks stolen from The Vincent Van Gogh Museum in 1991. That’s quite a haul. Thankfully, both versions have since been recovered.
  • In 1885, Van Gogh considered “The Potato Eaters” his best work to date; however, he considered his later (1889) “Starry Night” to be a failure. I guess it’s all subjective, right?

Sunflowers

Van Gogh Sunflowers Final
  • Van Gogh never created a painting entitled simply “Sunflowers.”  He did, however, paint several still lifes of the large yellow flowers in two separate series of sunflowers. He painted 5 canvases during a stay with his brother in Paris in 1887 and another 7 during his tenancy in Arles from 1888 to 1889
  • Fun Fact: There are 12 sunflowers in the vase.
  • During his stay at the Yellow House in Arles,  Paul Gauguin painted Van Gogh at work on a canvas entitled, “The Painter of Sunflowers”, (1888).
  • Van Gogh’s time in Arles, was an especially prolific period in which he infused many of his paintings with yellow tones. Theories abound. One theory assumes that Vincent was a bit too fond of absinthe while another theory suggests he took too much digitalis (which he took for epilepsy). Ingesting too much of either could have tinted what he saw with yellow. I personally think he was using yellow as an expression of his mood at the time, which was one of more exuberance and optimism. 
  • When they first met in Paris in 1887, Van Gogh and Paul Gauguin exchanged paintings. Vincent’s contribution to the exchange were 2 “Sunflowers Gone To Seed”  paintings from his Paris series, traded for Gauguin’s “On The Shore Of The Lake, Martinique”, 1887.

Paul Gauguin’s “Painter Of Sunflowers”, 1888

“On The Shore By The Lake” – Gauguin’s Painting Traded For 2 Van Gogh “Sunflower” Paintings

Starry Night

Starry Night 1889

“Starry Night Over The Rhone”, 1888

  • Van Gogh painted “Starry Night” in 1889 from a room in the asylum in Saint-Remy where was recovering from mental illness and from the self amputation of his left ear.
  • This world famous painting has been in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City since 1941.
  • Van Gogh painted the view from his window in the asylum 21 times. Although the paintings depict various times of day and night and different weather, all the paintings include the line of rolling hills in the distance. Not one painting from the asylum room shows the bars on the window. 
  • The year before, in 1888, Van Gogh created his original “Starry Night”, sometimes known as “Starry Night Over The Rhone”. (see pic below)

The Bedroom

The Bedroom - Amsterdam

The Bedroom – Musee d’Orsay (Paris)

  • There are 3 versions of Bedroom in Arles by Van Gogh, housed in three different museums. One hangs in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, another is on display in the Art Institute in Chicago, and the third can be found at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.  
  • Van Gogh, at the time of the painting of the first “Bedroom” canvas (1888), considered it to be his best work. In fact, he wrote to his brother, Theo, “I think this bedroom is my best work.” He painted it a week before Gaugin arrived in Arles. Go figure.
  • There are subtle differences between the 3 versions of “The Bedroom.” In the first and second paintings (from left), the top row of paintings above the bed includes a self portrait and a picture of an unidentified woman. In the third version, however, there are hanging portraits of two men (one painting is of Eugene Boch (L), and the other is of Lieutenant Milliet (R), entitled “The Lover”). Look closely! You’ll see differences in all three.

The Bedroom – The Art Institute (Chicago)

The Bedroom - Amsterdam

The Bedroom – Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam)

Personally, I am so excited that this has opened in LA. I’ve been longing for some in-person art exhibition action, and I have a sneaking suspicion that this will scratch my itch. See you there!

Image Credits (unless otherwise attributed): [from top down] Emily In Paris – Netflix . Los Angeles Van Gogh Immersive Experience – Photo: Aria Moreno

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