Mark Kennedy AP entertainment writer
New York (AP) – A large, haunting exhibition in honor of artist Vincent van Gogh relied on Broadway talent to show off a little dazzling when he visited New York City.
Immersive Van Gogh producer Tony and Emmy Award winning set designer David Collins sought creative support after securing 70,000 square feet of exhibition space in Lower Manhattan.
“They wanted something bigger, more flashy and deeper,” says Collins, who designed the Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen set. He is a lifelong fan of Van Gogh. “I really wanted to find a way to help people see him more human in 2021.”
Collins added a ceiling installation that is excitingly recreated with almost 8,000 brushes. This is a station that uses artificial intelligence to offer visitors individual letters from Van Gogh, the opportunity to work with him on a mobile phone, a booth that explores the artist’s synesthesia.
Corey Ross, lead producer of “Immersive Van Gogh,” said the show is impacting everywhere and New York is the biggest challenge of any city the show has visited.
“The question was how do you get the essence of New York,” he said. “And of course David Collins is the one who does my favorite job and he’s the best, so he was the first call.”
Some elements of Collins’ work will be added on future visits to other cities. The exhibition has already taken place in San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto and Paris and is set to expand to more than a dozen cities in North America, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Pittsburgh.
The center of the show is the same in every city. 38 minutes of digital film are projected into a huge room, dynamic and dynamic, from Van Gogh’s paintings on the walls and floor to soft electronic music and graceful piano soundtracks. The image is elegantly woven. These parts were designed by Massimiliano Siccardi and the original music is by Luca Longobardi.
The show’s arrival in New York comes as the city emerges from a lockdown that includes cultural events and art crowds. “I think this is a great and bright light of hope for New York art,” said Collins.
All visitors are required to wear masks and notices of social distance are scattered throughout the exhibition. Collins confirmed that he probably didn’t have to touch anything other than the visitor’s cell phone. He said it was natural that Van Gogh would often be isolated. “He’s a perfect artist and it’s a perfect time because we’ve all struggled with isolation.”
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Recently, a new interest in this Dutch post-impressionist artist has exploded, and “Immersive Van Gogh” is just one of several traveling exhibitions linking his work with technology. There are rivals in New York just a few miles away. “Van Gogh: Immersive Experience”
The producer of “Immersive Van Gogh” in New York has a very large space (Pier 36 once housed 25 basketball courts) and has designed three galleries. Sit on the bench and watch Van Gogh’s work float.
Korins has added several large mirror image sculptures to the gallery that reflect and refract digital images. Visitors are also greeted at the entrance to blow away one of Van Gogh’s final self-portraits and reach the master’s nuances and brushstrokes.
Collins hopes visitors aren’t just the artists who cut their ears and painted “Starry Night” on Van Gogh, but they also learn more about Van Gogh. Collins recalls that Van Gogh was a poor man who only sold one painting in his life. “He didn’t have the money to pay for the model, so he did a lot of self-portraits,” said Collins. “He drew sunflowers freely.”
One of the more notable additions is an attempt to get the viewer into Van Gogh’s mind, who had a form of synesthesia called color vision, which allowed them to hear colors and see sounds. The audience walks through 10 booths based on the colors most commonly used in their paintings and experiences light and sound that mimick how people with color vision respond to a particular color.
“The condition is now considered a gift,” said Collins. “But it has been completely misunderstood, and here is one way you can get into the experience.”
If You Go, New York City’s Immersive Van Gogh venue is Pier 36 in Manhattan (299 South Street). vangoghnyc.com Or call 844-307-4644.
Mark Kennedy http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits
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