THE LAST TIME I was excited about Vincent Van Gogh was back in the Pleistocene, when I was a tween, a term that had yet to be coined and has been mercifully absent from my reading of late. There was a blockbuster Van Gogh exhibition in town, and Aunt Viola volunteered to take my sister, Pat, and me.
Since then, of course, we’ve all seen a lot of Van Gogh—at the Met, at MoMA, at his own museums in The Netherlands, on shopping bags and cosmetic bags. But the show making the rounds of big American cities (and coming to New York in June) is a little different.
Back in the fall I wrote about immersive exhibits that wash famous art over you in dazzling fashion. That’s what is coming, to New York starting June 10, 2021 (other cities, other dates listed below). The creators of this starry, starry event, Lighthouse Immersive, launched the show in Paris; opened recently in Chicago and will open in San Francisco in March. The lineup could be called Vincent’s Biggest Hits: “Starry Night,” “The Potato Eaters,” “Sunflowers,” “The Bedroom,” self-portraits and more.
Sure, they’re familiar, but as LittleBird Janet points out, people like to see things they’ve seen before (why else watch re-runs of “Law & Order” or “Friends”?). And in the context of swimming through a sea of images, it’s good to have familiar landmarks so you don’t drown.
This is not a highbrow event, or high-touch (lotsa Covid restrictions in place). But it is inarguably a different way to view works of genius brought to a marketplace fairly starved at this point for something to appreciate.
Immersive Van Gogh. Timed tickets start at $39.99 off-peak, $49.99 peak (and go way up), plus fees.
Chicago, ongoing through September 6, 2021. vangoghchicago.com
Toronto, beginning March 9, 2021. https://vangoghexhibit.ca
San Francisco, beginning March 18, 2021. https://www.vangoghsf.com/?fbclid=IwAR3OXly-kw_gt_2UljecbCSBrc-xqbZ2P9JiRzDMa_71bWbrBkH3EKvfK6M
Los Angeles, beginning May 27, 2021. vangoghla.com
New York, beginning June 10, 2021. vangoghnyc.com