Thursday, August 4, 2022

Van Gogh immersion yields lavish, hypnotic multi-media experience

   

Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh's life and art come to life in a mesmerizing show in Las Vegas.
The show gracefully weaves state-of-the-art technology, lights, music and imagery.

VIEWERS FEEL THE SPIRIT OF FAMED PAINTER WITH STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY, ANIMATION, MUSIC, HYPNOTIZING LANDSCAPES

 STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS

Christene Meyers, left, and Bruce Keller, savor their
souvenirs from a magical morning at "Immersive Van Gogh."
Several cities are hosting the imaginative production.
Our travel-writing duo saw the original, in Las Vegas.

PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER


AN IMAGINATIVE look into the life and times of Vincent Van Gogh is getting raves in Las Vegas as it plays to enthusiastic international crowds.

The unique show has garnered kudos in 15 other American cities, but the "Vegas version" is the original.

 The "Immersive Van Gogh" exhibit begins with your ticket purchase -- easy, on line.  A couple options are available beginning at $38 if you shop around on the web for bargains.  Our tickets were "VIP" which included a sunflower pillow for sitting on one of the comfy benches, a lovely poster and a chance to correspond with Vincent himself (yes, through cyber wizardry, he answers your note.)

WE ENTERED  the magical space at The Shops at Crystals, on the third floor, right in the middle of the famed Las Vegas Strip, next to Aria.  A huge room has been transformed to an immersive digital art museum. The trendy show is captivating audiences in Las Vegas, just as it has worldwide, from Tokyo to Paris, Atlanta to Bordeaux. Toronto even staged a drive-in exhibit as each city puts its unique and special spin on the tormented genius.

We happily joined the ranks enjoying "Immersive Van Gogh," in this breathtaking Las Vegas version. Only a few dozen people are allowed into the huge exhibit space so one may sit, stand or move around without being crowded, enjoying a 360-degree experience. It evolves in pleasant rhythm, accompanied by an enchanting musical score including Handel, Schubert and many other composers.  The soothing musical arrangements and several original compositions are cleverly rendered by Luca Longobardi, who did a beautiful job integrating the music with flowing landscapes, portraits and other familiar Van Gogh works. You'll see the famous bed painting and many of the works by the tormented Dutch painter who sold only a single painting in his life before he died at age 37. Everyone knows the sorrow, but this experience honors his brilliance.

EVEN SO, THE SHOW has a wistful, sometimes melancholy feel as large-scale moving images are projected onto walls, ceilings, and floors in the space. The suffering in his self-portraits is evident.  It's all so mesmerizing we stayed for part of another show -- which the audience is encouraged to do.

The artful design is by the award-winning team of "Atelier des Lumieres" in Paris, which viewers may recognize for the digital art show featured in Netflix’s "Emily in Paris."
Imagination, technology and the original work
of Van Gogh are set to an exciting musical score.

We chose to sit on two different benches in two parts of the space to watch for an hour more than 500,000 cubic feet of projections.
All the iconic van Gogh works are in the spotlight, including The Potato Eaters (1885), Starry Night (1889), Sunflowers (1888), and The Bedroom (1889). Large-scale digital animations of the prolific painter’s work come to life with Longobardi's passionate musical choices -- including, appropriately, opera befitting the composer's Italian heritage.
Said my partner, photographer Bruce Keller, "This is a magnificent artistic effort worthy of a brilliant man who took a path less traveled and failed to achieve the fame he deserved in his lifetime."

Christene "Cookie" Meyers enjoys the whimsical,
moving immersive Van Gogh show in Las Vegas.
 

SEVERAL DOZEN of Van Gogh's post-impressionist sunflowers, perhaps his greatest masterpieces. These are highlights in the show, truly hypnotizing as they play a prominent role in this exquisite and powerful exhibition.
The show is running or will play in 29 U.S. cities; several other cities have closed the show after successful shorter runs.

Its an imaginative telling of Van Gogh's story, reminding of those 1970s Pink Floyd laser light shows at a planetarium. Truly it is a trip back in time with a futuristic portrayal of the tortured Dutch painter, considered to be among the greatest painters of all time -- right along with Rembrandt van Rijn. Despite selling only that single artwork in his frustrating career,  Van Gogh became -- in the century after his death -- perhaps the most recognized painter of all time. The show celebrates his art in joyous fashion, yet the viewer feels a tinge of melancholy in knowing that depression eventually overcame the artist.

Photographer Bruce Keller is happy
after a morning with Van Gogh.
MY FAVORITE segments capsulized his two years in Paris from 1886 to February 1888, when he left for Arles. The excitement and joy are felt in this Paris time, which critics believe laid the foundation for his  unique style, exposing him to famed impressionists Monet and Pissarro.
Emmy Award-winning and Tony Award-nominated designer David Korins, known for his set designs featured in Broadway hits such as "Hamilton" and "Dear Evan Hansen," introduced elements he considers "experimental" in transforming Lighthouse Las Vegas into such an imaginative venue. It's good entertainment for anyone, but thrilling for those of us with a passion for art and art museums. For more information or to book: www.vangoghvegas.com/



Singing, dancing, cowboys and saloon girls await as the
colorful story of Buffalo Bill Cody and friends performs in the
town named for the famed showman. The well done,
spirited review features top musical talent and fun stories. 



UP NEXT: A spectacular Wild West revue is performing several nights a week in Cody, Wyoming, and it's a top-quality production.  We saw it recently, with an appreciative crowd, and were pleasantly pleased at the dancing, singing, storytelling, costumes and humor.  It's part history, part pure fun and terrific entertainment. Rocky Mountain Dance Company does a whiz-bang job. More next week, and meanwhile remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on the arts, travel, nature, family and more: www.whereiscookie.com





4 comments:

  1. We saw it both in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Each city, as you say, puts its own spin on it.

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  2. Wonderful piece about a great modern multi-media concept and a brilliant artist.

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  3. Portland Art LoversAugust 7, 2022 at 8:58 PM

    We saw this in Seattle and felt it was wonderfully imaginative -- not long enough.

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  4. Visual magic, as you so well said.

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