Van Gogh immersed in: will absinthe advance the art?

Babies do not develop stereoscopic vision in their first few months of life; They have difficulty understanding depth and dimensions, and therefore Gravity for curved shapes and bright colors. They and others with similar tastes will find great joy in our culture’s latest virally circulated spectacles that turn fin-de-sicle French painting into entertainment as captivating as a nursery mobile.

Vincent van Gogh, the casting of his corpse in Auvers-sur-Oise and his paintings are out of copyright, have pulled these past few years into a new kind of immersive exhibition that sees his churning paintings of Provence animated by the wall-filling reproduces as guesses – you can have seen them on Instagram, or on Netflix on the outrage called “”Emily in ParisThe Franco-Dutch artist has always been a big draw at the box-office (The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam attracted 2 million visitors in 2019), but a touring exhibition of paintings takes years and costs in the millions, and prestigious museums do not lend their works to any for-profit enterprise.

Some enterprising exhibitors have discovered that many of us are less attached to Van Gogh’s paintings than to the mythology surrounding them. and That You can perform for cheap.

Now these “starry night” filled rooms have come to town that really The owner of “Starry Night” — and actually here in New York we have 20-other Van Goghs, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Solomon R. between the Guggenheim Museum. Through the fall, these share the actual Van Gogh Island with two postimpressionist fairground attractions, each on the banks of the Lower Manhattan River, jockeying for supremacy in Google search results.

immersive van goghAt Pier 36, near the Manhattan Bridge, it favors gorgeous, synthetic views. “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, ” in Battery Park City, offers a more chronological path through its sun-drenched and star-covered landscape. Each feature on Sam Champion’s five-day AccuWeather forecast includes iris, sunflower and almond blossoms, clones and mural Scales flipped, their short brush strokes swirled like cold fronts.

Like Vincent, I too suffer for my art, and so I participated in both of them. If you’re committed to trying one, head to the east, which has graphics of semantically more sophistication. (Adult tickets range from about $36 to $55 and increase with various fees, supplements, and busts. MoMA is $25, and the weather is pay-what-you-want for locals.) Whether you want either or both Join or you must fully charge the camera phone; Some may also enjoy a psychedelic supplement, and indeed the venue on the east side plans to set up an absinthe bar later. Erotic selfie backdrops come well before intellectual engagement here, so you can make the most of it.

Three consecutive rooms display the same video projection, created by Massimiliano Siscardi, in an east-facing space designed by Broadway set designer David Corrins. Totally scattered reflective objects reflect off the screen; You sit on the floor, on some benches, or (if you’re feeling flush) on a rented cushion.

On the west side, projections fill a single, very long room furnished with beach chairs. An English-accented narrator drones Van Gogh’s quotes on west-facing projections; The East Side show is unscripted, backed instead by a trip-hop remix of Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” and, more curiously, Edith Piaf’s “Non, je ne remorse Ryan”. The West Side Show offers more introductory material, though really, you can read the Van Gogh entry on Wikipedia while you’re at each.

Both exhibitions emphasized van Gogh as a solitary, tyrannical genius rather than a figure of history, and both indicated through his editing and exposition that his rough outlines and non-local color were a spurt of his soul. There was flow. Fair enough if you don’t want to chart the development of the painterly style in 19th-century France, but even Van Gogh’s fundamentals are not easy to capture in photographic reproductions.

If you want to visit the MoMA or Yale University Art Gallery (free admission!) to see “Starry Night”night cafe“You can spend as much time as you want checking out van Gogh’s mastery of impasto—that is, the thick application of paint that gives paintings their jumbled, shivering quality. In these wall-sized screen savers, the medium of motion to imitate impasto: dancing brush strokes, falling leaves, fluttering crows.

The animations in the West Side shows are rudimentary and have weird-jerky changes that remind me of solitaire app I used to play in Windows 95. The show on the east side is clean and sensual, though no more sophisticated than the flat-screen scenes at airport terminals or sports stadiums.

In both cases, digital reproductions—particularly the 1888 Arles Street scene”Cafe Terrace at Night“- Strongly recall the escapist fantasies of anime and the childish moral sentiments that go with them. Unlike the immoral obsessions of the 1956 film “Lust for Life,” or the 2018 biopic “at the door of eternity, “These selfie chambers are as gentle as a Japanese animated movie”My Neighbor TotoroThe personal suffering and social tensions of art both dissolve in the haze of Let’s Pretend; this van Gogh is no less an artist than a craftsman of another world. (A “universe,” as Marvel or Harry Potter fans call it. )

As for the technology: Although these immersives have been touted as a breakthrough in exhibition design, the cinema projections that fill the room go back several decades. The show features withdrawn multi-projector attractions 1964 World’s Fair in Queens and at Expo ’67 in Montreal, which presented a humanistic vision of the future in all directions. What’s new today is something else: not pictures on the walls, but the phone in your hand. Personal absorption, rather than shared surprise, is now the order of the day. From every vantage point you’ll fill your phone’s backlit screen with dazzling imagery, and there’s enough room for other visitors to crop up and frame only yourself.

Is all this worth your hard earned money? Immersion on the east side runs on a loop of about 35 minutes, on the west side about an hour. Not that expensive for a single ticket, but you can stay as long as you want, and both offer sideshows to boost your value. On the west side is a 3-D replica of van Gogh’s Arles bedroom, a coloring station for kids, as well as a virtual reality experience that whispers you through a waxy simulation of Arles.

Booths at the East Side show are rigged with sounds associated with colored lights, suggesting chromaesthesia van Gogh described in letters to his brother Theo, as well as mannequins dressed in van Gogh-inspired clothing. (Where might these costumes adorned with wheat and sunflowers be appropriate? Miss Provence pageant? Is there a Saint-Remy drag night I’m not aware of?) Also a bar with snacks sold “to Gog”, What a cute joke that only works in America – the French pronounce her name “Van Gogh”, the Dutch “Fun Khokh” and Diane Keaton.manhattanLike “Van Gokh”, the last consonant is contemptuously removed from the back of the throat.

Keaton’s character in “Manhattan” enlists van Gogh (along with Ingmar Bergman and Gustav Mahler) for hisAcademy of Overrated”, and there is a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel version of this review that may have ended: the painting is not a spectacle, and Van Gogh is more of a decoration. Even the most narcissist-friendly art establishments of this era – Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Rooms,” Random International’s “Rain Room,” or All of Miami’s Entertaining Environments superblue – At least there are original works with a greater purpose than artistic brand activation.

Still, after a few hours in these sensorias, I had to believe that the millions of visitors who enjoy these immersive Van Gogh displays are getting Some even Out of it. There is a speechless and irreverent quality to great art, a value that goes beyond communication or advocacy. And if audiences find that quality more quickly here than in our traditional institutions, perhaps we should ask why.

Have our museums and galleries greatly diminished the emotional impact of the art they display? In Gallery 822 of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you can “Stand in Front of” Van Gogh’s “As Long as You Want”wheat field with cypressThe raging clouds are rolling like waves, its climbing greenery surrounded by trembling black stripes. I want everyone to discover, in the thick groove of oil paint, the wonder and vitality of art that needs no animation. There has to be a way to take people back to that quest, even if some of us take a selfie afterward.

immersive van gogh

September 6, via Pier 36, 299 South Street. (East River), Lower Manhattan;; 844-307-4644. Currently in Chicago and San Francisco and scheduled to travel to Los Angeles next. Timely reservation required.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience

Skylight at Vesey, 300 Vesey Street, through November 6. (Battery Park City); lower Manhattan;

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