Should you Gogh to Van Gogh?


Aldo Giannini

Starry Night at the Van Gogh Exhibit in Seattle, WA.

The Van Gogh Immersive exhibit has made its way to Seattle! Located in the Sodo neighborhood of South Seattle, this floor-to-ceiling art experience places you directly into the world of Van Gogh. 

The high resolution digital copies of over 250 paintings are projected onto the walls of the studio, allowing individuals to fully examine and get an understanding of the artist’s work. Van Gogh’s “The Bedroom,”  is accompanied by benches and mirrors as a perfect vignette for photo-ops. His classic pieces are displayed across the walls and floors, allowing visitors to walk the streets of Saint-Remy as depicted by Van Gogh in “Starry Night.” This exhibit does a stellar job of showing the different types of art that Van Gogh created, from his sunflower phase to his Japanese phase. 

The experience is truly unique—as the soundtrack curated by various artistD guides you through each display as they are met with a total of  90,000,000 pixels, putting you face-to-face with the works of one of the world’s most prestigious artists. The exhibit describes his struggles and his troubled mind, giving descriptive insight into his life as the epitome of a starving artist. 

Although this exhibit has many pieces of art to enjoy, it also brings an interesting take to share his personal experiences and life troubles during his career.  Featured in the exhibit are stunning, high- quality videos of his pieces and very personal sections of his letters to his brother about his mental struggles. The Virtual Reality section of the exhibition, which is five dollars, is exceptionally breathtaking, with a unique take on Van Gogh’s view during his time in the fields of France.

Despite this interactive exhibit’s captivating experience, the price point isn’t justifiable. For less than $36 a person ($44.90 if you want to go on the weekend), you could go to a nice place to eat and have an enjoyable time in the nicer parts of Seattle. Once you’re done with the exhibit, you’re left with little to do in South Seattle. 

Location aside, since each piece is portrayed via projection, there is a lack of intimacy between you and the piece itself that makes the exhibit unique but disconnected. Although the projections are high quality all the paintings just look a little off.  The art from head to toe does create the perfect spot for any artsy instagrammer on this side of the Cascades. Seriously, every room is a photo-op. That being said, this truly is a hot-spot. If you’re looking for an artistic escape, this isn’t for you. Although I wouldn’t say this exhibit is necessarily crowded, the experience is  not incredibly intimate if you’re looking for a date night idea or even to take yourself out for the day. 

An enjoyable part of the display was the virtual reality portion. VR headsets are available for a 10 minute immersive display of  “A Day in the Life of an Artist” where you view the world just as Van Gogh would, seeing the inspiration behind “Starry Night”, “Night Over the Rhône River” and six more of his more popular pieces. 

All things aside, the idea of an immersive experience is a unique and fascinating artistic encounter. While being more expensive than a traditional museum, you are getting more than you would here. You are losing the intimacy and appreciation of the physical art pieces themselves, but the photo opportunities make up for it. 

The Van Gogh Immersive Experience is open through March 6, 2022, tickets are available from 10 am to 7 pm weekdays and 10 am to 8 pm on weekends. You can also reserve tickets online.