Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Popular immersive van Gogh exhibit headed to ABQ

Vincent van Gogh’s “Café Terrace at Night” is one of the many pieces of art featured in “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience.” The traveling exhibit stops in Albuquerque on March 2. (Courtesy of Gayaman Visual Studio)

Vincent van Gogh’s legacy continues to burn bright.

More than 130 years after his death, the Dutch Post-Impressionist’s masterpieces are being featured in the traveling exhibit, “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience.”

The exhibit has been in Paris and opened its United States run in Miami. The next stop for it will be a two-month run in Albuquerque, beginning March 2, at the Immersive Pavilion in the Sawmill District, 1820 Bellamah Avenue NW.

“This exhibition has gotten a lot of (attention),” said David Rosenfeld, managing member of Primo Entertainment, the promoter of the exhibit. “(The exhibit) has been featured in the Netflix series ‘Emily in Paris’ and celebrities have visited it when it’s in their city. This is the kind of experience that can still be done although there’s a pandemic.”

Since opening, the exhibit has sold more than 2.5 million tickets globally making it one of the most popular current traveling exhibitions.

“Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” features about 300 van Gogh paintings in digital form. It includes such recognizable classics as “The Starry Night,” “Sunflowers” ​​and “Café Terrace at Night,” as well as many revealing self-portraits . These are digitally projected onto floors and walls to give visitors a unique perspective into his world.

Rosenfeld says it goes beyond the painting’s frame.

“It’s a new way of seeing art,” he says. “The pieces of art allow visitors to be a character inside the painting. They can walk through, and experience the colors and mood of it all.”

While any time to experience art is precious, Rosenfeld says the interactive nature of the exhibit has been a hit with families.

“Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” showcases about 300 of Vincent van Gogh’s works digitally. The exhibit has been in Paris and opened its United States run in Miami. (Courtesy of Gayaman Visual Studio)

“The pictures are all around you and kids love it,” he said. “(Most) art museums don’t allow touching. It’s different than a traditional museum and visitors get a chance to experience van Gogh’s work in a different way and learn.”

Tickets go on sale Thursday, at vangoghalbuquerque.com. The cost will be $39.99 for adults and $23.99 for children. The exhibition will be open from 10 am to 9 pm Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 10 am to 10 pm Friday-Saturday.

The exhibit was created by French-Canadian creative director Mathieu St-Arnaud and his team at Montreal’s world-renowned Normal Studio.

“An imaginative and fully-immersive adventure, ‘Beyond Van Gogh’ takes on the challenge of breathing new life into van Gogh’s vast body of work,” St-Arnaud said. “Through the use of cutting-edge 3-D projection technology and music to illuminate all of his genius, guests can experience the artist with all their senses.”

Rosenfeld said guests are transported into van Gogh’s world through an all-new, exclusively designed space comprised of three areas that segue fluidly into each other.

The Introduction Hall leads into the unique Waterfall Room, which flows into the Immersive Experience Room.

“Freed from their frames, van Gogh’s spectacular paintings appear on projection-swathed walls inviting guests to fully immerse themselves into the incredible detail of his work and be enveloped in his ever-shifting, swirling and colorful flowers, cafes and stunning landscapes,” Rosenfeld said. “And, hearing the artist’s own dreams, thoughts and words set to a symphonic score drives an unmatched narrative experience.”

Bringing the exhibit to Albuquerque was always on the list and Rosenfeld says the stars aligned.

“We started with more populated cities,” Rosefeld said. “Hitting cities like Albuquerque have turned out to be better. We had to find the right building and have enough projectors for the exhibit.”

There are 44 projectors through the entire exhibit.

Rosenfeld says the exhibit has plans to run for two months, which would take it through May.

“There hasn’t been a market where we haven’t extended,” he said. “There’s been great reception to the exhibit, and it’s gone viral on social media and with the help of Netflix shows.”

Rosenfeld said the exhibit is taking all necessary precautions to keep visitors safe. Those are:

  • Timed ticket sales to help reduce congestion and capacity.
  • Arrow markings to allow for separate entrance and exit directions.
  • Increased cleaning practices of high-touch surfaces with approved cleaning products.
  • Multiple hand sanitizer stations throughout the exhibit and venue.
  • Contactless transactions only to lessen transmission risk.
  • Masks inside the venue.

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