The second shot has been fired in the battle of Miami’s dueling Van Gogh exhibits.
“Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” has opened at the Olympia Theater in downtown Miami, and yes, it is a bit different than that other Van Gogh exhibit taking place over at Ice Palace Studios.
You might be tempted to ask: Does Miami really need two Van Gogh exhibits? Isn’t one more than enough? And why do we seem to be unable to view wondrous works of art unless they’re dripping off the walls like that guy’s face in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”?
But these are questions for another time. “The Immersive Experience,” using 300 sketches, drawings, and paintings as a jumping-off point for floor-to-ceiling, 360-degree digital projections, is here, and your FOMO will torment you until you see it for yourself.
There are, of course, similarities between the two Van Gogh exhibits. Both focus on the Dutch painter, who created more than 2,000 works of art, including 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches, and killed himself at age 37. He also inspired one cheesy ’70s song, which plagued generations of Americans and will continue to do so as long as these Impressionist exhibits stay popular.
The highlight of each experience is a big open room with digital projections on the walls and floors. The ticket prices for the exhibits are comparable, and you’re allowed to shoot photos and videos in both. Masks are also required in both, although inevitably some guy will be wearing his down around his chin.
In any case, here’s what’s unique at “The Immersive Experience” at the Olympia, which runs through October.
The replica of Van Gogh’s bedroom
Stand and gaze at a 3D replica of Van Gogh’s room made famous in his painting “The Bedroom.” No, you can’t lie down for a minute.
Inside the main room, there are places to sit
The room at The Immersive Exhibit has benches and bean-bag seats, although if you’d rather walk around you can do that, too. Either way, fully expect to end up in someone’s Instagram story.
The colorful proscenium arch
The main room is set up on the Olympia stage, which means the theater’s gorgeous proscenium arch is part of the show.
You can color your own masterpiece
Upon leaving the main room, you can sit at a desk and color a copy of one of Van Gogh’s works. When you’re done, the staff will project it on the wall in a frame so you can pretend you are an artist. Fun for kids, but we saw plenty of adults hogging the seats, too.
The virtual reality experience
Head upstairs, and a staff member will help you put on a headset that takes you on a stroll that leads from the artist’s room to the bank of the Rhone river. The experience is part of the VIP ticket package, but for $5 more regular ticket holders can do it, too.
You can buy a ‘Starry Night’ doormat
This is an art exhibit, so of course you will exit through the gift shop.
Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
Where: Olympia Theater, 174 E Flagler St., Miami
When: June 16-October
Show times: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m.-10 p.m. weekends and holidays
Parking: Nearby public garages or valet for $18
Tickets: $44.90 general admission; $64.90 VIP for adults; $22.90 general admission; $39.90 VIP for kids 4-12; under 4 free; vangoghexpo.com/miami