At least five different companies are currently battling to dominate a new field in the art and entertainment world — the immersive van Gogh field.

In Houston, we have two immersive van Gogh shows opening soon, including one coming to a not-yet-announced location in August and one coming in September to the Spring Branch District.

The folks at Artnet News, a leading online resource for the international art market that put out a “Guide to Every Single One of the Nearly 50 Immersive Van Gogh Experiences Blanketing the U.S,” have never seen anything like it.

“As far as we can remember, there has never been a phenomenon like the immersive van Gogh craze currently sweeping America,” Artnet said.

“Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience,” is set to open Sept. 8 at the Marq’E Entertainment Center, 7620 Katy Freeway, located in the Spring Branch Management District.

“The experience has successfully launched in Atlanta, New York, and Miami – which collectively saw over 300,000 guests total – and we look forward to welcoming our Houston visitors soon,” said Madi Boring, account coordinator with the firm Hunt & Gather on behalf of the van Gogh experience.

Nina Kuhn, leasing and event director for Levcor, Inc., which owns the Marq’E Houston, said the exhibit will be in the same location where the candy-covered world Candytopia was. After Candytopia, which recently re-emerged in CityCentre, the space was home to Movietopia.

Then, of course, we got “COVIDtopia” which may explain why people are clamoring to get out and immerse themselves in art.

“Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” is a 360º digital art exhibition using state-of-the-art projection technology and offering a “one-of-a-kind” virtual reality experience that transports visitors into van Gogh’s world.

Last month, the experience opened at the massive former trading floor of the New York Mercantile Exchange, now known as Skylight in central Manhattan.

As in New York, visitors to the Houston show will step into a virtual experience featuring more than 400 of van Gogh’s iconic sketches, drawings, and paintings dramatically displayed on thousands of square feet of projection surface. Projections on the floor create the impression for the audience of being enveloped in the art.

A drawing studio and additional galleries further explore the life, works and techniques of van Gogh. The optional virtual reality experience in a separate gallery guides the viewer through a 10-minute journey on “A Day in the Life of the Artist in Arles,” providing insight into the inspiration behind some of van Gogh’s most beloved works.

“Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” is a product of a partnership between producer Exhibition Hub and entertainment platform Fever.

The other van Gogh show coming to Houston, “Immersive Van Gogh,” was created by Italian installation artist Massimiliano Siccardi, whose work was seen by over 2 million visitors in Paris and was featured on Netflix’s “Emily in Paris.”

First conceptualized in 2016, “Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience” (the one coming to the Spring Branch District) debuted in Naples, Italy in 2018. Since then the exhibition has had successful runs in over a dozen cities throughout Europe and Asia, including Brussels, Beijing, Barcelona, Milan, Tel Aviv, UK and more. There are two long running experiences in the UK, both located in medieval churches, and the show is in Austria and Belgium.The experience will be in major cities throughout the United States beyond this year.

If two Houston van Gogh experiences isn’t enough for you, there is a short window of opportunity to see a third in the Lone Star State. “Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience,” is now showing in Austin.

If you’re going to “Gogh,” we suggest making a decision soon. The Austin experience ends Aug. 8 and, while the Houston experiences are scheduled to be here several weeks, tickets are already, well, “Goghing” fast.

Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience
Marq’E Entertainment Center
7620 Katy Freeway, Building 3B, Suite 360
Houston, Texas 77024

Tickets start at $34.90 for adults and $19.99 for children.
Family passes are available, as well as discounts for seniors, military and students.

Artnet’s Guild to Van Gogh Experiences:

— by Dorothy Puch Lillig