A press shot from Beyond Van Gogh

Getting to the bottom of the competing Van Gogh exhibits in Halifax

Two similar celebrations of the “Starry Night” artist have us seeing double.

There are three different art exhibits descending on Canada currently that celebrate Van Gogh, the post-impressionist prince who painted “Starry Night.” All lean on the word “immersive” to describe the experience of walking through projections of works by the Dutch painter. None feature physical paintings, but claim to take you “deeper” into the experience of the (arguably) biggest name in western art, while boasting about pixel counts and accompanying musical scores.

The buzziest one, of course, is Immersive Van Gogh, a site-specific show in Toronto that’s toured North America’s biggest cities after wowing millions in Paris. Considered by some to be the “real” show (again, there are no actual paintings at any of these exhibits, just projections of them), it’s Instagram bait for the artsy set.

It isn’t coming to Halifax, though.

click to enlarge A press shot of Van Gogh 360, one of two projection-based installations celebrating the artist this spring in Halifax.
A press shot of Van Gogh 360, one of two projection-based installations celebrating the artist this spring in Halifax.

The two that are arriving in Nova Scotia? Beyond Van Gogh and Van Gogh 360. Both events arrive in May. Both boast enthralling, hi-def projections of 300 works by the artist. Both have music rounding out the experience. “I am so confused VanGogh would agree!” read the subject line of an email a Coast reader sent me, asking for help sussing out which installation she’d got tickets for. “Both are matched closely in price and wording about the experience,” she added.

I am personally marvelling at the randomness of two different, non-affiliated shows here celebrating Van Gogh: It’s not an anniversary of the painter’s birth, or his death, or the date one of his lauded canvases came to be. He’s also, obviously, not local. Yet, appetite for his work is apparently rampant, since Beyond Van Gogh switched its run of dates to line up closer with the competing Van Gogh 360’s run. Originally, Beyond Van Gogh was slated to run at the Halifax Convention Centre in February, but its site recently updated to a new location (the Halifax Exhibition Centre, an old barn of a venue where rapper T.I. played in 2016) and run of dates: May 8-June 12. It now lists yoga as part of the activities on offer—something that the original Van Gogh exhibit, Immersive Van Gogh, is offering as part of its Toronto run.

Van Gogh 360, meanwhile, runs May 27-July 15 at the Halifax Forum. It, like Beyond Van Gogh, offers the chance to see projections of 300 works by the painter, including greatest hits like “The Potato Eaters”, “Café Terrace At Night” and “Sunflowers.” It also offers a musical score to round out the experience, like its rival.

Since the source material and execution are the same, picking which Van Gogh show to see feels a little like choosing between Pepsi and Coke: Does the difference *really* matter, or is it mostly in your head?

Adult tickets for Beyond Van Gogh start at $30.99 and the entrance price for Van Gogh 360 starts at $29.

About The Author

Morgan Mullin

Morgan is the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she writes about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She’s been with The Coast since 2016.

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

Get more Halifax

The Coast Daily email newsletter is your extra dose of the city Monday through Friday. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.