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Fresno is on track to host popular immersive Van Gogh exhibit. Where will it go?

There are competing Van Gogh immersive exhibitions touring the country, and one of them is coming to Fresno. This is evidence that 1) the masterminds behind the phenomenon have milked every franc they can out of the concept in our major metro areas and are now moving into the hinterlands; and 2) cutting off one’s ear doesn’t always guarantee fortune in your lifetime, but wait a century or so and someone will rake in the bucks.

As The Bee’s Joshua Tehee reports, Fresno is one of 20 cities that will get “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” in 2022. The exhibition is also coming to Sacramento and such cities as Anchorage, Grand Rapids and Palm Springs.

The exhibition’s PR firm made the announcement this week. When I emailed to ask when and where the exhibition will be, a spokesman said, “We are currently in the sign up phase for the pre-sale access. We’ll announce the venue, on-sale date and opening date in an upcoming press release.”

Which still leaves me wondering: Where will it go in Fresno?

Gabriel Dillard in the Business-Journal writes that typical venues for the show in North America include convention centers and arenas for the months-long run. The exhibit occupies more than 30,000 square feet.

That means it would comfortably fit in the Fresno Convention Center, but I’m wondering how hard it would be to get a long block of time for such a busy venue. As far as arenas go, it seems as if the Save Mart Center would be even harder to land for an extended amount of time. Perhaps Selland Arena?

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“The event can also use a tent set-up that has been employed in several markets at the moment, according to the spokesperson,” Dillard writes.

Van Gogh in August in Fresno — in a tent? Not unless there are ice baths at the exits.

The search for space actually created a bit of controversy recently in Detroit. “Beyond Van Gogh” — the one that says it’s coming to Fresno — played at downtown Detroit’s convention center. But “Immersive Van Gogh,” the other “Van Gogh” exhibition — which calls itself the original, and is also the one featured in an episode of “Emily in Paris” — ran into venue issues and had to postpone its opening at the last moment, the Detroit News reports. Originally scheduled for 2021, it’s supposed to open in Detroit now in May. It’s now going to be held in a downtown Detroit art gallery.

By the way: I found a fun article in Detroit Metro Times that talks about the confusion of two competing Van Gogh shows coming to the same city. I like this tweet from the piece:

Here’s something for my to-do list: Scour the internet for a review by someone who has seen both shows and compares them. Now I’m curious.

In the meantime, I’ll include more description from the “Beyond Van Gogh” folks:

While journeying through Beyond Van Gogh, guests witness over 300 masterpieces, including instantly-recognizable classics such as “The Starry Night”, “Sunflowers” and “Café Terrace at Night”, now freed from their frames. Van Gogh’s art comes to life by appearing and disappearing, flowing across multiple surfaces, and heightening the senses with their immense detail. 

As for Fresno, we’re being encouraged to head over to vangoghfresno.com and pony up our email addresses. There, in exchange for your contact info, we’ll get first notice of dates and venue.

If you have any guesses where you think the show will be held, let me know what you think in the comments.


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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

Comments (4)

  • Karan Johnson

    I saw the Van Gogh show in San Francisco, which I liked…but then heard about the other show, which my friend saw in New York, which has much more to offer. here’s a link that discusses both shows:
    https://secretnyc.co/van-gogh-experience-nyc/

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  • Robert Gunning

    We went to see this exhibit in San Francisco, it was held there in what I could best describe as a large warehouse. Maybe one of the buildings at the Fairgrounds would work. The experience was a bit of a let down just FYI.

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  • lisa bartels

    It is a life changing exhibit. I saw it in San Jose was moved by how fabulous it was. I am looking forward to the other shows that they are planning such as Frida Kahlo and Jackson Pollack!
    I figure that it will probably be at the fairgrounds because of the size. It is at least a football field or more!

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  • Donna Beavers

    I was thinking Fairgrounds could work.

    reply

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