Van Gogh Show Dazzles
By August 12, 2021 One Comment 937•
We’ve been hearing the hype about “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience.” It certainly sounds appealing: an interactive visual extravaganza — light projections, virtual reality — on the life and works of the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, a troubled but genius soul who left the world at the age of 37 and us his brilliant art.
As the show producers, Exhibition Hub Edutainment and Fever, which calls itself “an entertainment discovery platform,” claim, “Have you ever dreamt of stepping into a painting? Now you can!”
Upon entering the black-walled exhibit hall, one is greeted with images of the artist — his self portraits and a holographic-looking bust with changing colors. Van Gogh’s famous works then beckon: “The Starry Night” and the vases, sunflowers, roses and more. One can jump into a staged “Bedroom in Arles” — and then, via VR googles, go on a trip from the bedroom to the harbor on the Rhone River.
A ten-minute journey through “A day in the life of the artist,” this virtual reality of “walking” along the fields, seeing the windmill and farm animals, trekking through the forest and then arriving at the town is thrilling. It happily throws one off balance with the movements of rich color and imagery in this delightful recreated natural world. All the while, one also hears the artist muse on his art and the world. Simply stunning — especially, when the full moon and sky appear.
Then, there’s a 20,000 square-foot light and sound spectacular with two-story projections of Van Gogh’s works. Surrounding the viewer, there are seats or pillows for the floor from where one can let it all wash over one’s self. Again, stunning. There is also a drawing room where one can color in a van Gogh artwork and see it on a screen to print out. Of course, there’s merchandise in the lobby — coffee mugs to yoga mats. (By the way, all proper Covid-19 protocols are observed.)
So, for Washingtonians used to having their museums free, are the tickets — $39.90 for adults; $19.90 for children — worth the trip? In a word, yes … oui. And plan on spending more than an hour at “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience.”
There’s a free parking lot right in front of the exhibition hall — part of the mixed-use Bryant Street project that includes the Coda condos and the just opened metrobar.
“Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” is at 524 Rhode Island Ave NE; the Rhode Island Ave-Brentwood Metro stop is nearby. Open weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.