Beyond Van Gogh – A Guide to The Immersive Experience

Diana Adame

In case you haven’t heard yet, Beyond Van Gogh exhibits are now sweeping the nation with nearly 40 locations across the U.S. As far as I––and most other people–– can remember, this has never happened before. 

Though there are many reasons for its unparalleled success, most notably, there are two reasons: 1) Van Gogh is probably the most well known artist ever, and 2) COVID-19. Although there is no question that most people love Van Gogh and have always been fascinated by his art, it’s also no surprise that after a year of quarantine people are dying to leave their house. And I, frankly, was one of them. 

On my trip to the immersive experience, I found myself driving to the Circuit of the Americas––the motorsports racetrack outside of Austin. Unsurprisingly, it was another hot summer day in Austin. This however, did not stop me or anyone else from dressing up in the finest hipster outfits.

The Exhibit

When first walking into the exhibit, I found myself in a pitch black room lit up by huge screens. When I first saw this, I was confused. Where were his paintings? Or, where was the immersive experience? Despite my confusion though, I walked along the screens and discovered that they were meant to tell the story of the Dutch Postimpressionist painter. Though there are many subjects discussed, the overall gist is simple––Van Gogh was meant to become an artist. 

After roaming in this dark room for a while, it was finally time to enter into the second portion of the exhibit––the immersive experience. 

The Immersive Experience

When first entering into the second portion, you will need some time to take it all in. Because it’s A LOT to take in. There are images of Van Gogh’s art projected everywhere. On the walls and on the floor of this massive room. Thankfully, there are some benches and chairs to sit on while you take in your surroundings. Meanwhile though, you will experience the immersive show that everybody has been talking about. Van Gogh’s art will appear massively in front of you, sometimes still and sometimes moving. You will see his art through the years––paintings of his hometown, of beautiful landscapes, and of his most famous paintings. Although the show lasts about 30 minutes, you will practically be transported through time as you are engaged with Van Gogh’s art. This was definitely my experience. My favorite part was seeing the starry night showcased across the enormous room. The colors were stunning and you could really see Van Gogh’s signature heavy brush strokes.

Final Thoughts

Now that I’ve had time to reflect upon my experience, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve never experienced anything quite like Beyond Van Gogh. I mean, I’ve been to plenty of art exhibits before but none have ever taken me along the journey of a painter quite like this. Beyond Van Gogh is an imaginative and immersive presentation that is just beautifully crafted. Although I did not enjoy the first portion as much as the second, I can understand how both were necessary in order to complete the painter’s story. The first portion helped me understand his dreams, thoughts, and words, while the second portion took me into the world of Van Gogh through my heightened senses. After experiencing Beyond Van Gogh, I have a much deeper understanding of Van Gogh was the way that he was and why he should continue to be celebrated. 

So, before it’s too late, I highly recommend experiencing Van Gogh’s masterpieces come alive before you. Just Gogh!