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Van Gogh
Photograph: Van Gogh The Immersive Experience

A first look at Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, now open in Battery Park City

Take a look at the world through the eyes of Vincent Van Gogh.

Will Gleason
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Will Gleason
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A new immersive experience opening in Battery Park City this month will let you see the world through Van Gogh’s eyes.

The traveling exhibition, Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience, has tickets available for dates starting tomorrow at Skylight on Vesey at 300 Vesey St. (It’s just around the corner from the Brookfield Place ferry terminal.) Before its official opening, we stopped by the exhibition space to get a first look at the trippy, art-inspired experience.

The immersive aspect of the show starts as soon as you enter the space as you climb multiple stairways covered with 3-D sunflowers and Van Gogh portraits. At the top of the stairwell, you walk into the main exhibition space with soaring, two-story-tall ceilings and contemplative, orchestral music playing.

Van Gogh
Photograph: Will Gleason

The first part of a visit (the entire experience takes about an hour) takes you through dark galleries that feel similar to your standard traveling exhibition. Informative text provides details on the artist’s life and samples of his work are displayed to illustrate various periods and fixations. A few especially striking elements of this portion of the experience include three-dimensional models of famous interiors featured in his paintings (such as his bedroom in Arles) and a captivating projection overlaying multiple examples of his paintings of vases.

Van Gogh
Photograph: Will Gleason

From there, you walk into the centerpiece of the exhibition: a 20,000-square-foot light and sound spectacle featuring creative projections inspired by Van Gogh’s life and paintings. In addition to the painter’s talent and genius, the immersive demonstration doesn’t shy away from exploring darker aspects of his life, including his ongoing struggles with mental illness. As a result, not only do you find yourself inside some of his classic paintings (as you might expect) but also at the center of more interpretative audio-visual environments, like an anxiety-provoking courtyard full of lighting, rain and multiplying archways.

Van Gogh
Photograph: Will Gleason

The last two areas of the experience have more hands-on, interactive elements. In an especially kid-friendly area, coloring pages and crayons let visitors create their own works of art and then scan them to be displayed on a massive, illuminated wall. For an extra fee of $5, guests can also take part in a ten-minute virtual reality journey through “A day in the life of the Artist.” The VR adventure takes out on a calming walk with the artist as you encounter some of the real-life sources of inspiration behind his famous works.

Overall, the new exhibition would make for a solidly entertaining and educational outing for families as well as an interesting date activity. Tickets are now available for the exhibition which is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10am–9pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 9am–10pm.

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