IMMERSIVE VAN GOGH SHOULD BE SUNK
by Andrew Chalk
You would have to be totally out of touch not to have seen the advertisements for an event called Immersive Van Gogh. The cheapest tickets are $40 and “VIP” status is $100 per person (plus an eye-popping 17% ’service’ charge). For prices higher than most live theatre productions you are justified in having high expectations of the event.
Unfortunately, you are likely to leave feeling that you were ripped off. Thinking about all the things you could have done with the money, two hundred dollars still buys a pretty nice restaurant meal in Dallas and two weeks ago Alaska Airlines was offering round-trip to the west coast for $200 for two. And there is not a single Van Gogh painting involved in the Immersive event. For that, go to the Dallas Museum of Art from October 17th for their Van Gogh special exhibition.
What you get at Immersive Van Gogh is a 35 minute TikTok video which overhead projectors screen onto the walls of a bland dark room in which you watch with dozens of other people (some of whom have remembered to turn off their phones) either from one of the 18 or so seats or, more likely, sitting on the hard concrete floor. The, generally simple, static images taken from Van Gogh paintings are paired with crowd pleasers from the classical music catalog to provide some action. But note, this is 1990s technology. None of it will leave you in awe. There are no holograms, 3-D images, augmented reality or other things that you had a right to expect in the modern era.
The video plays in an endless loop, letting the organizers stuff as many punters as possible through the show. Head to the exit sign when it starts to repeat what you saw when you came in and you you find yourself in a second room, twice as large as the first, where the same show is on and there are a lot more seats. Why weren’t you told about this when you entered? Lots of other people were not, either. They almost all stopped in the uncomfortable, crowded, first room like you and the second room is virtually empty. The teenager-supervised show seems to lack any adult supervision.
But you shouldn’t come away surprised by this. While grossly overpriced, the Immersive experience reeks cheapness and corner-cutting. It’s just a gimmicky attempt to cash in on the name of a popular artist. It wouldn’t surprise me if the backers behind it aren’t working on a ‘Monet’ followup right at this moment.
Disclosures: I paid for my own ticket. I am not associated with any other Van Gogh museum or event.