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.
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?