Van Gogh’s life work brought back to life in immersive art experience

A tribute to a beloved artist, and one of the most popular exhibits today, Chicago opened its doors to the Immersive Van Gogh experience back in February 2021.

Despite the pandemic and its restrictions, the exhibit is booming with activity and established new dates staying until the end of November. Tickets starting at a hefty price of $40, for a 40 minute show, creates an opportunity for a romantic date night with a birds eye view from the Juliet balcony that is available for the show. Including a wine bar and gift shop, there is also an opportunity to do yoga at select times while the psychedelic light show is projecting the walls around you.

Housed in the reconstructed Lighthouse Artspace at Germania Club, this exhibit spreads across three rooms with 35-foot tall walls giving a variation at each of the same exquisite paintings with an excitingly new look in each corner. With curated music from Edith Piaf and Luca Longobardi, this exhibit takes guests into a multimedia fantasy with 500,000 cubic feet of projections and more than 60,000 frames of video.

Starting the 40 minute art show, we are surrounded by the swirls of Van Gogh’s paintings with cicadas buzzing across the walls and the sounds of water rippling out of the once blank walls. Displayed are many of this famous artist’s iconic pieces such as “The Starry Night,” “Sunflowers” and “Cafe Terrace at Night,”. While the less than subtle backdrop is matched with a piercing volume, this exhibit creates a comparison to a timid carnival fun house and should be cautioned for people that are sound and light sensitive.

The relaxed mandates for Covid-19 have impacted Chicago’s summer in ways everyone has feared, from the start of the city opening up in June, allowing huge festivals like Lollapalooza to happen. Then in the middle of August, the city again enforced mask mandates and began to enforce capacity limits for businesses such as bars and restaurants.

Going to an art exhibit which has had more than 2 million guests during a pandemic can cause lots of concern, but The Van Gogh experience attempts to create a safe environment for art lovers and curious Chicagoans alike through safety protocols of hand sanitizer stations, mandatory masks and limited capacity. The exhibit also uses projectors to place circles on the floor acting as an arranged seating area for guests to maintain a social distance.

The future of art is transforming into a new age of recreation, and incorporating technology for a better experience. The creation of interactive ‘Pop-up’ museums gives a younger generation an interest in works of classical art.

Other examples of this in Chicago are the WNDR museum and Womanish exhibit. This can help people that would otherwise not be interested in art, or going to an art museum, discover pieces of art that they would never have heard of before. This likely will not be the last time that Chicago will see a new take on a celebrated artist’s work and put a new spin on these classics.