Nov 12, 2021 - Things to Do

With 2 exhibits, it's Van Gogh time in Columbus

Silhouettes of people walk among projections of Vincent Van Gogh paintings on dark walls

The Immersive Van Gogh exhibit in Cleveland, which opened in Columbus last month. Photo: Dale McDonald, courtesy of Lighthouse Immersive

Beloved painter Vincent Van Gogh may have missed the Renaissance by a few centuries, but he's having his own renaissance of sorts this fall in Columbus.

What's happening: The Columbus Museum of Art presents 17 works by Van Gogh and more than 100 other artworks in an exhibit debuting today, "Through Vincent's Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources."

  • Meanwhile, Immersive Van Gogh, a display of digital projections, opened last month in a former Polaris Fashion Place furniture store. It's one of 20 temporary locations in North America by company Lighthouse Immersive.

Why it matters: Columbus hasn't exhibited a Van Gogh piece since 1971, museum chief curator David Stark tells Axios. Though unrelated, both exhibits encourage guests to think about the famous painter in new ways.

  • The museum collection emphasizes Van Gogh's community of artists and inspirations rather than the solitude and grief for which he's known.
  • The immersive experience, meanwhile, makes an artist from the 1800s approachable for a young audience with Instagram-worthy swirls of color recreated using modern technology.

The intrigue: It's just an odd coincidence that both displays debuted here around the same time.

What they're saying: "This is a heavy lift for two mid-sized art museums. It's quite amazing," Nannette Maciejunes, the Columbus museum's executive director and CEO, tells Axios. She hopes it will attract newcomers.

  • Santa Barbara Museum of Art helped with years of organizing and will showcase the collection next year.

If you Gogh: Both exhibits are open through early February.

  • Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St. $10, plus admission — $18 adults, $9 seniors, students, kids ages 4-17. Free admission Sundays and always for kids under 4.
  • Immersive Van Gogh, 940 Polaris Parkway. Adults $40-70, kids $30-40.

💭 Alissa's thought bubble: I'm hardly an art aficionado, but I was really impressed by the museum exhibit. It's mesmerizing to see a canvas covered with Van Gogh's thick, vibrant brushstrokes in-person.

  • Now I feel more informed (and excited!) for my upcoming visit to Polaris.
  • I recommend checking out both if you can, as they'll allow you to appreciate Van Gogh's works in different ways.
A table with a large puzzle and stools sits in the middle of an art museum exhibit, with paintings on the walls
Vincent Van Gogh's "Undergrowth with Two Figures," one of his last paintings, displayed on the blue wall and as a puzzle, so Columbus Museum of Art guests can appreciate its details. Photo: Alissa Widman Neese/Axios

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