When I first learned about the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit a couple of years ago, I was immediately intrigued. It’s not that I have any particular affinity for the troubled painter (though I’m pretty sure I had a Starry Night print hanging in my living room in a former life), but I thought the combination of light and music looked, well…pretty bitchin’.
I also figured I’d never get a chance to see the exhibit in person, living in the cultural wasteland of western South Dakota. That’s not a dig; they don’t have the population to support a Trader Joe’s or Costco, let alone something this grand. But if you like giant rock carvings, you’re golden.
Madison, on the other hand? Heaps o’ culture. That was probably the biggest selling point for us. And fortunately, when the traveling exhibit announced a Madison stop, they timed it for a few months after we moved here. Better still? I took advantage of a Black Friday deal and snagged 25% off the ticket prices. Which, if you have been, you know are not cheap.
Totally worth it.
The video plays on a 30-minute loop, and when we first arrived, it was about 1/3 of the way through. We took seats on a bench, but moved to the floor, where most everybody else was sitting, when it started over. The 360º digital projections, accompanied by music, completely envelop you. It’s like you’re right in the middle of the art – not just a spectator, but a living, breathing part of each painting. Not only are you surrounded by poetry on all four sides, but the floor is a fifth side, the carpet absolutely shimmering at times with colorful lights. It’s like a laser light show but on a grander scale. The walls appear to be melting at times. Total acid trip.
We both agreed the whole thing was very moving and would have been worth the price of admission even at full cost. If you have a chance to see it yourself, I highly recommend.
After the exhibit, we drove downtown for a couple of cocktails and an early dinner at the Tipsy Cow. It was bitterly cold, but I insisted on walking around Capitol Square to check out the Christmas lights. There are different trees on all four corners, plus State Street is all decked out in holiday finery.
It’s a winter wonderland out here, by the way. There’s snow everywhere. Covering the trees, blanketing the fields. So much, in fact, that it’s piled up in the middle of the street in Madison. With daytime temps in the teens and even colder weather coming, it won’t be going away anytime soon.
Bitter cold notwithstanding, I was finished with my weekly work by noon on Friday and wanted to get out of the apartment for a few hours, so I drove five minutes to Dorothy Carnes County Park for a hike in the snow. Luckily, I’d had the foresight to bring along my rechargeable hand warmers. I hadn’t used them in almost a year, and yet, they still had some juice left.
Only about 10 minutes’ worth of charge, it turned out. But that’s okay. I was too busy whipping my gloves off every few seconds to take pictures anyway.
Today we’re pretty much just hunkering down and watching movies. When it’s this cold out, who feels like doing anything more?