To Gogh or Not to Gogh? A Review of NYC’s Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

If you live anywhere in the NYC metropolitan area, you’ve likely been hit with targeted advertising about a new(ish) experiential exhibition in town. The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit is marketed as a new way to encounter his artwork and connect with his genius. The entrance of the exhibit featured a huge portrait of Van Gogh and an intricate installation of hanging paint brushes. This might actually be really awesome, I thought. But despite the high potential for greatness, the exhibit ended up falling flat, in my opinion...



Pros 
  • Decent date idea 
  • This exhibit could be a cool third or fourth date idea. You know, that in between phase when you want to spend time with someone, but don’t want to have to talk to them too much? 

  • Could be fun if you’re a die-hard Van Gogh fan 
  • Or even if you just work in the art world. You’ll probably appreciate the unspoken meaning behind the art and how it was animated for the installation. 



    Cons
  • Having two locations in Manhattan was a bit confusing
  • This one might be more on me for not paying closer attention, but I didn’t realize that there were two locations of this exhibit in Manhattan, both very close to each other. And when ordering tickets, it was not super clear that this was the case. So I ended up going to the wrong one and had to frantically Lyft to the right location! 

  • There was no history or storytelling 
  • I was expecting to learn about Van Gogh himself at some point in this exhibit. I mean, the guy cut his own ear off - I’m sure it would be compelling to learn about him and his life! But besides three quick facts about him presented in the hallway as we waited to get into the exhibit, there was nothing. No narration to accompany the animated show. No separate room with artifacts or information about him. The entire exhibit entailed sitting on the floor and essentially watching a light show for about 40 minutes. There was no way to understand the significance of Van Gogh’s work, and that was the biggest travesty of all if you ask me. 

  • Starry Night was hardly in it 
  • Starry Night is Van Gogh’s most famous piece, yet there was only a short part of the installation that was dedicated to it. And it wasn’t even a true Starry Night, it was a warped version of the painting that was barely recognizable! 

  • It was very clearly all about making some moolah 
  • Then again, what isn’t? But I found it distasteful that the exhibit was said to pay homage to Van Gogh’s life and work when it was more so about capitalizing on it. The space was pretty big, but also fairly crowded (maxing out how many tickets can be sold), which took away from what was meant to be an intimate experience. Of course you could pay for a VIP ticket, the perks of which only seemed to include cushions to sit on and a slightly elevated platform to stand on while you watched the installation. But even the regular tickets were priced at $40-70 based on the time of your entry (peak vs off peak), and they required another service charge of almost $7 per ticket on top of that. What was the service for? Not really sure, as the whole exhibit was “self guided.” So even my basic ticket ended up costing over $66 after tax and fees. The icing on the cake? The gift shop seemed more elaborate and interesting than the actual exhibit. That was definitely no coincidence...


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    So my overall rating? I’ll give this exhibit a 3 out of 10. It was a similar price as the Friends Experience, but it wasn’t nearly as worth it. If you just want to go to a cool, immersive light experience and snap some IG photos, you’re better off going to ARTECHOUSE for just $24 per ticket. Sorry, but I wouldn’t Van Gogh again 🤷🏼‍♀️!
     
    Have you been to the Van Gogh exhibit? What did you think? Let us know by commenting below! 

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