Chicago’s New Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

Using high-definition art projections to envelop guests in Van Gogh’s sunflowers, Starry Night and Bedroom in Arles paintings, this immersive exhibit offers a new way of experiencing the iconic work of the post-Impressionist artist.

Chicago's New Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit
Chicago’s New Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit

This Chicago attraction is located at Lighthouse ArtSpace, a renovated building on Clark Street that once served as a social club for the city’s German immigrants. It’s the first immersive art experience to be presented at the venue.

The Art of Van Gogh

The art of Vincent van Gogh has captured the hearts and minds of artists and art lovers around the world. His sun-soaked landscapes and probing portraits have a universal appeal, combining radiant colors with swirling brushstrokes and iconic compositions to create work that is both emotionally powerful and aesthetically compelling.

In fact, his famous self-portrait The Potato Eaters is one of the most recognizable paintings in all of art history. The painting features a distorted perspective, which is very unusual for the time.

He started out by drawing pictures of poor hardworking people using pencils or charcoal sticks and eventually moved on to painting with oil paints. He found that this was a good way to express his emotions.

When he moved to Arles, in southeastern France, he quickly became obsessed with painting and began to paint in a much more dramatic and intense manner. His colors were more vivid and he used thick brushes to apply the paint.

How to Get There

The blockbuster Immersive Van Gogh exhibit made its North American debut in Chicago, and it’s set to tour 20 other cities in 2021. This immersive experience combines music, movement and art to bring Van Gogh’s famous works to life.

Designed and conceived by Massimiliano Siccardi, who pioneered the Parisian predecessor, this immersive art experience features towering projections that illuminate Vincent Van Gogh’s oeuvre with entrancing moving images that accentuate brushstrokes, detail and color. The 500,000 cubic feet of animation consists of over 90,000,000 pixels and is projected onto five interior levels, covering the 35-foot walls of the Old Town Victorian building where it’s housed.

The exhibit includes extensive health and safety protocols such as temperature checks, a reduced capacity, obligatory face coverings and touchless hand sanitizer stations. There are also social distancing circles projected on the floor that ensure six-foot social distance between visitors.

Getting There

A flurry of work has gone into installing Chicago’s new immersive van gogh exhibit inside the historic Germania Club building. Located in Old Town, the three-story, Victorian-era building features 35-foot walls and Victorian-era details to create a space that will envelope you in the art of Vincent Van Gogh.

This acclaimed digital art experience was inspired by an exhibition in Paris, but it was designed specifically to fit Chicago’s Germania Club. Using the same Italian creative team that spearheaded the digital art movement in France, the Chicago exhibit maintains the same custom designs, but adapted for North American audiences.

The interactive exhibition reimagines some of the final paintings of the Dutch painter with 90 million pixels projecting onto 500,000 cubic feet of gallery space, and a soundtrack by Italian multimedia composer Luca Longobardi. Its sequences include a kinetic depiction of pouring rain, psychedelic swirls of color, and brushstroke birds soaring across a canvas. Social distancing circles delineate safe social distances for visitors, and the exhibit also requires attendees to wear masks at certain moments.

The Experience

Imagine stepping into one of the Dutch post-Impressionist’s paintings and being instantly enveloped by color, light, animation and sound. This is the experience of Chicago’s new immersive van gogh exhibit.

The show, which opens February 11 in the former Germania Club building on Clark Street south of North Avenue, is a multimedia remix of some of the master painter’s most iconic pieces. It envelops visitors in Van Gogh’s sunflowers, starry night and bedroom in Arles.

To create the immersive experience, Lighthouse ArtSpace is partnering with two companies that specialize in creating exhibitions. Using 70 projectors, a large-scale audio soundtrack and an elaborate lighting system, the show surrounds viewers in a variety of moving and animated images.

Among the eye-catching sequences are psychedelic swirls of color, brushstroke birds that appear in inky darkness and a sun pictured in Starry Night that cascades across the 35-foot-tall walls. Music composed by Luca Longobardi, the Italian multimedia composer behind Paris’s Atelier des Lumieres, complements the visual display and adds a layer of emotion to the whole experience.

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