I try not to saturate this blog with too much of the same artist. After all, there are so many talented artists in the past and present, why would I repeat any? But there are some that are just so dang relevant. So many artists that create work that relates to almost any life experience. Maybe more than any other artist (even more than my beloved da Vinci!) I am tempted to write about Van Gogh week after bloggy week. And sometimes I do. Mostly I exercise the kind of self-restraint usually reserved for not eating a fourth ice cream sandwich.
But last week, the girls and I met some friends in Detroit to go to the interactive Van Gogh exhibit, and I have to tell you about it! We heard about this exhibit in the dark days of 2020, and planned to travel to Indianapolis for it. Then in the much brighter days of Spring 2021, Detroit announced it would host the exhibit as well. Win! We bought tickets immediately for the evening of August 9. Later, I would learn we would have two conflicts with our ticket time and a 5am flight the next day, but it was worth it.
We showed up early and were delighted when they let us right in, without mentioning our ticket time. It turns out Monday evenings are a good time for this particular event. There were maybe ten other people there. No other kids except mine and Carla’s (a total of six- three boys, three girls because we are all about balance) were there. I’m certain everybody thought our kids were charming and loved their commentary. I think my youngest daughter’s dance moves were especially appreciated. Cringe.
I did not make it thirty seconds into the first room before choking up. Quotes from the famous author (mainly to his brother, Theo) illuminated the room. This was the first one that made me cry:
The second (and last!) room is a thirty-five minute Van Gogh art extravaganza, in which viewers are immersed in 360 degrees the painters artwork. The paintings are brought to life via their grandeur, the occasional blurb read aloud en Francais, and music. Here are a few pictures that naturally, don’t do it any justice.
I loved the exhibit too, because it was an opportunity to experience something well-known (Carla pointed out that in college Sunflowers was so common, people had prints of it in their dorm rooms) in an unusual way. “Beyond Van Gogh” took what we’ve seen a thousand times to the next level. They took what was familiar and maybe “old” to some of us and reframed it to be new all over again. If you have the chance, definitely go to this exhibit! Or, as every person who crosses the threshold of this exhibit says, “Gogh see it!”