Arts & Entertainment

Rival immersive Van Gogh exhibits duke it out for Big Apple’s tourists

Helen Cook

New York, Jun 7 (EFE).- The immersive, world renowned Vincent Van Gogh exhibitions, in which the Dutch impressionist master’s popular paintings are brought to life through enormous projections on huge walls, have landed in New York, where two different companies are battling it out to attract the wave of tourists expected to return to the Big Apple this summer.

The rival displays open to the public on virtually the same dates (early June to late September), have almost identical names (“Immersive Van Gogh” and “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience”), and are located on the southern tip of Manhattan. Both also accuse the other of being a copycat display.

“They say imitation is the highest form of flattery,” Corey Ross, one of the producers of “Immersive Van Gogh,” tells Efe in an interview.

Ross insists that his show is the brainchild of Italian filmmaker Massimiliano Siccardi, the “Steven Spielberg of the immersive installation world” who was behind the “Starry Night” exhibition that rose to stardom after being featured in the Netflix series “Emily in Paris.”

For “Immersive Van Gogh,” Ross explains, they have obtained permission for 400 images of the painter from the world’s best museums, which is reconstructed to form a new work of art.

“What I’m sad about is the public, because there’s a lot of confusion,” Ross says of the resemblance of the two events.

He says the Better Business Bureau, which advances consumer confidence in the marketplace, is investigating the way his rival is promoting their business.

The show’s producer, Lighthouse Immersive, has set up an exhibition of more than 14,000 cubic meters, while its rival, “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience,” has 1,858 square meters of exhibition space, plus a virtual reality experience in which visitors wander through the landscapes that inspired the iconic Dutch artist.

“We have here more than 2.4 million bits of information and 125,000 individual frames that we turn into a video. So it’s more advanced than many other digital technologies,” says Mario Iacampo, CEO of Exhibition Hub, which together with the Spanish company Fever is responsible for the exhibition.

Iacampo points out that their first immersive exhibition took place in 2017 is a church in Naples, and since then they gone to Milan, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Vienna, Brussels, York and Beijing, among others, while they are organizing shows in London, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Miami, Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Seattle, Hamburg and Munich.

“We started in 2017, the other show here in New York started in 2019, so unless we had a time machine, it’s impossible to have copied them,” Iacampo tells Efe.

“I always say that the public is not blind. (…) The product speaks for itself,” adds the representative, who argues that what sets them apart from the rest of the long list of similar shows is what they address in their show, which is not limited to projecting animated images of Van Gogh’s paintings, but they try to bring the public closer to the artist by talking about the events that shaped him.

“It’s not just about his images, it’s really about the artist and his life,” he says. EFE


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