This summer, New York City has been gifted not one, but two Immersive Van Gogh exhibits! Maybe you saw the social media phenomenon or Emily in Paris dazzled by L’Atelier des Lumières in Paris, where Starry Night comes to life.
Noah and I were both thrilled when we found out that an exhibit like this was coming to New York, and we were shocked when we learned there would be two – AT THE SAME TIME! We chose Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience because it had previously toured Europe, offered slightly more activities than Immersive Van Gogh, and promised more history and education. After seeing reviews on both, I’m sure that we would’ve equally enjoyed Immersive Van Gogh for the art and digital experience.
Entering the experience, you are greeted with letters, quotes, painting replicas, and videos of the artist’s life and works. Providing a timeline for a quick art history refresher was really nice, because you could compare the pieces of art to where he was in his life.
I think the most fascinating history for me was his final piece before his suicide.
Historians spent many years trying to figure out what it meant. As they came to realize, it was completely banal. He had painted the trees he saw outside his window.
As if to say, life goes on and the beauty of nature continues, with or without me.
It was gut-wrenching.
In the second hall, there were rooms built out and other 3D experiences to put yourself in Vincent’s world. From his time in Arles to Paris to the St Paul Asylum in Provence, Vincent lived in all types of locations, but always find nature to be the most beautiful and inspiring.
His humble little room and what he could see from his window was the focus of his attention throughout most of his life, but he also loved taking walks in Arles and seeing the countryside in all of its splendor.
The full immersive experience happens in the third hall, when a two story projection from floor to ceiling puts you inside the paintings and briefly goes through the life of Vincent Van Gogh in his own words.
We loved the orchestra music and depth of the story line. Noah mentioned that he could stay there all day.
It was deeply calming, entrancing, and meditative. It was so much more immersive than the photos and videos can show. I truly believe that if fine art stands a chance in our future world, this full-sensory delivery will be the way forward.
The last two halls were even more immersive – with the next space dedicated to the creation of you very own Van Gogh. When finished “painting,” you broadcast your work on the walls via a QR code. It was surprisingly fun.
Next, a VR experience allows visitors to take a walk with Van Gogh in Arles and see all of the sights that inspired some of his most famous landscapes and café scenes.
If you have a chance to see Van Gogh in an augmented environment like this one, you should absolutely check it out. I believe that Van Gogh is possibly the first of many like this soon to come. And, I’m here for it! It was relaxing, educational, inspiring, and ultimately fun!
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Should I Come to New York in 2021?
YESSSS!!!! If you live in the U.S.A., then go get your vaccine and come visit! As of April 1, quarantine and testing will no longer be mandated. Quarantining for a few days is still recommended, but we are reaching the end of the formal testing, paperwork, and quarantines for domestic travelers! Huzzah!
***UPDATE*** On April 1, 2021 New York will no longer be requiring quarantines for domestic travel. International travelers will still be required to quarantine. All travelers will need to fill out a NYS traveler form upon arrival.
***UPDATE*** On May 17th the MTA Subway System will resume 24/7 service!
***UPDATE*** On May 19th NYC restaurants will resume indoor service at 100% capacity
***UPDATE*** On September 14th Broadway will re-open at 100% capacity
You’ve waited patiently, and New York is still here! Start planning your trips!
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