Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit will be held in secret Kansas City location

The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit will come to Kansas City Dec. 1. (PR Newswire)

Robin Ramsey

The Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, the blockbuster show with sold-out tickets and extended runs in Toronto, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York, is coming to a secret location in  Kansas City on Dec. 1, 2021. 

Ricky Allman, professor of painting and drawing at UMKC, says he is curious to see the liberties the creative team will take.  

“It’s interesting to think if Van Gogh would want his work to be shown this way, as he obviously has no say in how this work will look in this installation,” Allman said.  “Ultimately there are other creative voices deciding what to animate, what to project.”

Van Gogh once said, “I dream my paintings, and I paint my dreams.” The designer of the exhibit, Massimiliano Siccardi, invites audiences around the world to experience his interpretations of the post-impressionist artists’ paintings through a series of installations. 

“This seems like more of a remix or a reinterpretation of Van Gogh’s paintings,” Allman said.

According to the exhibit’s website, Siccardi utilizes 500 thousand cubic feet of projections, 60,600 frames of video and 90 million pixels to captivate audiences with animated Van Gogh artworks throughout the building. 

The installation will include the Mangeurs de Pommes de Terre (The Potato Eaters), the Nuit étoilée (Starry Night), Les Tournesols (Sunflowers), La Chambre à coucher (The Bedroom) and others.

The hour-long walkthrough features a soundtrack by composer Luca Longobardi. Those interested can listen to the curated playlist on Spotify

“Despite being unknown throughout his life, Van Gogh’s artwork has created a lasting impact through its emotional richness and simple beauty,” Massimiliano Siccardi told PRNewswire. “Both myself and Luca Longobardi are very excited to visit Kansas City and once again bring Van Gogh’s legacy to life in  a way that embraces this city’s one-of-a-kind energy.”

UMKC art history professor Cristina Albu advises students to think of the projections as artworks in their own right, and not representations of Van Gogh’s paintings.

“I encourage visitors of Immersive Van Gogh to think of it as a technologically mediated experience that has its own aesthetic merits,” Albu said. “It is not meant to be a substitute for the encounter with Van Gogh’s paintings but a gateway into a fantasy encounter with the artist’s world view.” 

Safety measures will be in place to protect patrons of the exhibit from exposure to coronavirus. The team behind the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit mentioned on their website that “it’s safe to Gogh.” 

Although the exhibit was not designed with COVID-19 regulations in mind, Siccardi remains optimistic of the impact social distancing has on the experience. 

“I did not anticipate the distancing of the viewers,” he told NewCityArt after the premiere opening of the Chicago exhibit, “but we were lucky, because the circumstances allow us to breathe with the art.” 

Allman believes exhibits like this are very impactful to the art world, especially after experiencing quarantine. 

“With a huge percentage of young people leaving organized religion, I think communal and immersive experiences with art that can offer some kind of social or spiritual connection are more important than ever to help us overcome all this isolation we’ve been through,” Allman said.

Tickets to the exhibit will start at $39.99. 

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