Beyond Van Gogh — The Immersive Experience is coming to Augusta later this month. The exhibit has been getting rave reviews and has wowed more than 5 million art lovers interested in the famous Dutch painter since it began touring in 2017.
It has been named 2021’s best immersive experience by USA Today and was ranked among the 12 best immersive experiences in the world by CNN.
But before it arrives, Scott Thorp, chair of the Augusta University Pamplin College of Arts, Humanities,and Social Sciences Department of Art and Design, offers an expert’s perspective before the exhibit opens locally.
“I believe these types of exhibitions exceed expectations because they are so stimulating. They include a new type of interactive media that entirely surrounds the viewer. You are more of a participant than a viewer in these situations. It’s like Disney is coming to your hometown,” said Thorp.
“People are used to craning their necks to view static art on a wall. With this, you have to keep looking around to ensure you are getting everything. The technology here is relatively novel. Plus, it’s all around you. Sometimes museums feel intimidating, stuffy, or exclusive, so not everyone feels comfortable in those environments. However, blockbuster shows for Van Gogh or Monet have historically done exceptionally well.”
Thorp thinks we’ll see more exhibits like this going forward.
“This is only the beginning. There are several companies like Meow Wolf that do this all the time. Meow Wolf started back in 2008 and has been creating all kinds of engaging, high-tech installations. This will spread to more permanent venues such as the Illuminarium in Atlanta. The Illuminarium currently has a Georgia O’Keefe exhibition up.”
He also said don’t be surprised if more permanent exhibits similar to this start showing up.
“I actually see these popping up all over the place. As they move forward, I’m sure artists will use this medium as their own. So it won’t be just about an artist of the past; the experience will be the actual work of contemporary artists.”
Augusta University has already taken advantage of a similar application of this in the Children’s Hospital of Georgia with an interactive wall in radiology.
A new Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital and Visual Storytelling program is being offered at AU to prepare students to be cutting-edge visual storytellers who communicate effectively through a versatile, technology-rich skill set that includes a strong theoretical and technical understanding of writing, performance directing, production, and ethical representation through multiple forms of expressive media as well as industry standard tools.