The "Immersive Van Gogh" exhibit turns out to be a 35-minute digital video, played across four screens on a loop, such that viewers are enclosed and enveloped by the video and can stay for as many iterations as they please. The available accommodations include a concrete floor, onto which circles have been painted polka-dot wise (seating suggestions for social distancing?) and minimalist benches. That means you can either sit in mild discomfort or else roam awkwardly through the space to check if the viewing experience is better or worse on any of the four screens. It's all more or less the same: animations of some of Van Gogh's most famous paintings set to music. Some of it is very interesting to look at! The yellows truly pop. If it were on a single screen, the video would be a titillating teaser for an actual Van Gogh exhibit at an art museum. With narration—about the artist's technique, say, or his life—it'd be a natural companion piece at said exhibit, the sort of thing that plays continuously in a dark room off to the side where patrons wander in and watch for a few minutes as they rest their legs.
As a new way to get acquainted with the post-impressionist master, it's a cool thing. But as a high-dollar, hot ticket event, it's a head-scratcher. And given the omnipresence of the marketing campaign, it can leave something of a sour taste in one's mouth. That is to say, the whole thing can feel a little scammy, or at least sullied by hyper-commercialization. What might have been a unique, family-friendly outing at a $6 or even $12 price point turns into highway robbery at $40 (off-peak) or $55 (peak), with premium packages at higher rates that include things like Immersive-Van-Gogh-branded cushions to mitigate against the built-in discomfort; even more so when you realize the "immersive" exhibit is a single warehouse room, and that the video itself is only half an hour long, and that the physical space has been designed to herd guests into a gift shop as large as the exhibit itself where dollar-store items sell at markups so high the only natural response is to suspect an error in currency conversion.
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