featured image source: Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience. Credit to Connor Myers.
New Yorkers were ecstatic to hear that a dazzling immersive Vincent van Gogh exhibit was coming to the city this summer…
And then we learned there would actually be two of them! Which left many asking: What’s the difference, and which one should I go to?
We wrote about the two exhibits back when they were first announced to share more about the details revealed at the time, but now we have actually attended both of them in person…and we have thoughts!
First off: these exhibits each have their own unique spin on sharing the legendary artist’s works in a high-tech way, and definitely don’t just repeat themselves. We’ll try to highlight the stand-out parts of each one, or scroll to the bottom for a short and sweet comparison!
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience is located at 300 Vesey St. in Lower Manhattan, right near the waterfront and a short walk from the Oculus. It’s a very walkable area and you can stroll right along the Hudson River after your visit, or enjoy some waterfront dining at Le District or P.J. Clarke’s on the Hudson (which is what we did after!).
The Immersive van Gogh Exhibit New York is located on the Lowest East Side at Pier 36 (299 South St.). There isn’t too much within the close vicinity, but it has a very clear and easy car drop-off point and is also within walking distance to Chinatown.
Now, as for the experiences:
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience has three distinct sections. They are: a high-tech museum-like journey where you’ll get an in-depth look into Van Gogh’s life, from reading letters to his brother Theo, seeing his sketches and handwriting, and learning secrets about his paintings.
Then, the main event: the 20,000-square-foot room featuring two-story light projections and animations that bring Van Gogh’s paintings to life in front of your eyes. After, there is an interactive portion where you can recreate your own Van Gogh masterpiece, and you can add on a mind-blowing VR experience that will take you through a day in the life of the artist and what inspired his greatest creations.
Immersive van Gogh Exhibit New York mainly focuses on its massive halls of projections — spanning over 500,000 cubic feet. 60,600 frames of video play, displaying parts of Van Gogh’s life and of course his stunning paintings.
There is also an absinthe bar that will be opening soon in its lobby (currently serving as a snack bar), and a decked-out gift shop that has interactive elements with QR codes — like getting your own personalized letter “from” Van Gogh.
In both spaces, there is a sunflower-filled wall when you enter the exhibit to make for some perfect Instagram-worthy moments.
All in all, here’s a quick breakdown — but again, they are both different experiences and both worth seeing while they are in NYC!
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
If you like/want:
✨ Seamless digital displays from painting to painting of Van Gogh’s
✨ Narrations of the artist’s own words on life & his work
✨ A deeper connection to the post-Impressionist creator & learning about his legacy and process
✨ Interactive elements, like an artist table where you can make your own masterpieces & a mind-blowing VR journey through a day in the life of Van Gogh
✨ Education combined with entertainment
Immersive van Gogh Exhibit New York
If you like/want:
🌻 Three different halls playing a colorful light & sound show (it is the same show throughout the spaces)
🌻 Selfie opportunities galore (there are lots of mirrors!)
🌻 To see creations from renowned Broadway designer David Korins (like a brilliant ceiling display made from hundreds of dipped paint brushes)`
🌻 A musical score that combines experimental electronic music with piano
🌻 A glowing green absinthe bar (not open yet)
Moral of the story? They are both pretty amazing — and pretty different! So you can totally experience both and not feel like you’re doing the same thing twice.
To get tickets to Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, click here.
And to get tickets to Immersive van Gogh Exhibit New York, click here.