Vincent Van Gogh is arguably the most famous painter of all time, and has a captivating backstory to match. The biography and the art both come alive in multiple dimensions in the Olympia Theater’s “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience,” the second blockbuster Van Gogh exhibit to tour Miami this year alone.
The unique art exhibit educates attendees on the artist’s life story while showcasing his pieces, known for their heavy brush strokes and moody colors. Upon entering, you will be greeted by melancholic instrumental music that gracefully sets an appropriate mood. The melody manages to be both uplifting and sulky—which I think describes Van Gogh’s art career. The exhibit is split into three parts: Part 1-Introductory Galleries, Part 2-Immersive Room, and Part 3-VR Experience. Each unit is equally engaging. Integrated in Part 1 is an educational video that informs viewers of relatively unknown details about the Dutch genius, such as the suspicion that Van Gogh was colorblind.
The exhibition, however, is a bit short and may leave some fans wanting more. The Introductory Galleries lack the depth needed to empathize with his intriguing but tragic life story. Nonetheless, the curators admirably explored the full spectrum of Van Gogh’s art. Popular works like “Cafe Terrace at Night” and “Vase with Twelve Sunflowers” can be seen as well as lesser known, untitled pieces like the lovely still-life of a vase filled with peonies.
The best part of the exhibition is a room where Van Gogh’s paintings consume the entire space. The 360-degree experience makes you feel as if you are “inside” the oil paintings. I especially enjoyed the immortal “Starry Night.” I felt like I was in a setting that was both chilling and comforting. Although the post-impressionist painting is set at nighttime, it contains stars that radiate almost like suns. And rather than make you dizzy, the swirls are so completely alive that it makes viewers feel as if they are gliding through the celestial. In the Immersive Room, I felt as if the dark blue sky was infinite. It was in that moment where I realized just how amazing this man was and still is.
Special ticket holders, for an added price, can choose a virtual reality experience that takes participants into a day in the life of Vincent Van Gogh. Although the headset is uncomfortable, the AV makes up for it. This VR experience takes you around the French countryside, where he lived before his death and created some of his best pieces. I felt as if I was taking a stroll through a picturesque village in the south of France.
At the end of Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, there is a drawing room where young artists and their friends can create masterpieces of their own. VIPs will leave with a poster that is meant to resemble a classic Van Gogh painting.
“Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” is a multimedia spectacular that will satisfy fans and make a memorable outing for those simply interested in seeing beautiful artwork.
“Admire as much as you can. Most people do not admire enough.”
—Vincent Van Gogh
“Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” runs through August at the Olympia Theater, 174 E. Flagler St., Miami. Adult tickets cost $34.90, VIP Adult tickets cost $54.90, Child tickets are $19.90, and student, military, and senior discounts are available.