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Baffled by all the immersive art exhibits happening across Canada? Here's a guide for you – CBC.ca
With luck, most pandemic pivots will be left on the scrap heap of history, junked like so many snot-stained KN95s. Zoom theatre? Drive-in comedy shows? May we never hear those phrases again. But there’s one craze that’s persisted, even as restrictions have eased, and that’s immersive multimedia productions devoted to Vincent van Gogh.
In the spring of 2021, three separate van Gogh spectacles were operating in this country, and one year and a full round of vaccinations later, the trend is still going strong. Five van Gogh productions are now running in Canada, and before 2022 is over, they’ll have reached at least 10 cities from coast to coast.
Presented by different corporate entities, each van Gogh exhibit is subtly different, but despite variations in form and ticket price, they all make the same general promise to visitors: explore van Gogh’s life and art by gawking at giant projections of his all-time greatest hits. Sometimes there’s the option of taking drop-in yoga class, sometimes not. But spectacle and light edu-tainment are all but guaranteed.
Earlier this month, two separate shows were expected to premiere in Halifax. Prospective ticket buyers couldn’t tell one from the other, and in response to audience confusion, the organizers of one production (Van Gogh 360º) announced they’d be “joining forces” with their competition. Now, just one van Gogh exhibit will be appearing in the city (Beyond Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience), and it’ll honour any tickets that were purchased for the other.
But the public appetite for immersive entertainment hasn’t been limited to sunflowers and starry nights. There are now 360-degree light shows dedicated to Pablo Picasso (one closed in Vancouver this January), Claude Monet, Frida Kahlo. You’d think the injection of fresh subject matter would open up the market a bit, and yet every tribute exhibition seems to beget a whole new army of imitators. Multiple Monets! Kahlo clones!
So to spare you some frustration, here’s a guide to some of the immersive productions on deck for this year, plus info on where to find them.
Van Gogh a go go!
The Halifax iteration of Van Gogh 360º may have been called off, but this immersive production is still scheduled to open in other Canadian cities this summer: Niagara Falls, Ont. (July 20); Ottawa (July 21) and Charlottetown (Aug. 5).
Presented by Festival House Inc. (the same Ottawa-based events company that works on the city’s RBC Bluesfest), the show advertises a familiar mix of music and panoramic projections (which are beamed onto screens). Admission prices vary, but adult tickets (for peak times and dates) start at $41.
Brought to you by Toronto’s Lighthouse Immersive, this production has weathered more than a few pandemic shutdowns since launching inside the old Toronto Star printing press in June of 2020. At the time, the show was a drive-through experience, but in these almost-normal days, visitors can explore the exhibit on foot — all 4,000 square feet of it.
Adult tickets range from $39.99-$99.99, and the show itself boasts a connection to the Atelier des Lumières in Paris, the attraction that arguably brought lightshow mania to the masses; its former artist-in-residence, Massimiliano Siccardi, created Immersive van Gogh — an enterprise that’s since expanded far beyond its roots in Toronto, establishing outposts in 19 American cities.
Created by Montreal’s Mathieu St-Arnaud (Normal Studio), this show’s another global export. As of writing, tickets are available in more than 20 cities, from São Paulo to Albuquerque, and while it’s currently playing the Halifax Exhibition Centre, three more Canadian stops are expected in the coming months.
It opens in Winnipeg July 14, and pre-sales are happening in Victoria and Surrey, B.C. (dates TBA). Featuring animated projections designed to blanket whatever cavernous local venue it occupies, this one’s set to music too. (Sample the soundtrack here.) Adult tickets to the Halifax show start at $35.99.
The brainchild of Annabelle Mauger and Julien Baron of the Cathédrale d’Images (a multimedia theatre in France), this show was first presented back in 2017. Since then, Imagine Van Gogh: The Immersive Exhibition has reached a few Canadian cities, including Vancouver (where it was appearing this time last year).
Come Oct. 22, the spectacle hits the Kellogg Factory in London, Ont., where it’ll stay through Jan. 8. The soundtrack to this one is classical fare, though not necessarily in step with the Top 40 hits of van Gogh’s time. Included in the cost of entry ($39 and up) is access to a “pedagogical room,” where visitors can read up on the artist before blitzing their senses in the lightshow portion.
Like Beyond Van Gogh, this Montreal production has ties to the city’s Normal Studio. Launched at OASIS Immersion last month (a downtown venue exclusively dedicated to multimedia exhibits), some of the animated projections (which are based on a couple hundred van Gogh originals) respond to visitors’ movements, and if that isn’t futuristic enough for you, the show takes the viewer beyond van Gogh’s world.
There’s a section where they drop you in contemporary sounds and visuals inspired by his oeuvre — and another that imagines what van Gogh would dream up if he were alive today. Adult tickets cost $28, and that’ll get you access to all of the venue’s offerings.
Elsewhere in Montreal, you can step into the world of another artist … who’s arguably more famous than van Gogh. Frida Kahlo: The Life of an Icon opens June 10 at Arsenal Contemporary. Billed as an “immersive biography” rather than an art show, this travelling production is appearing in multiple cities, though Montreal is its only Canadian stop (so far).
Co-created by the Frida Kahlo Corporation, this one describes itself as the “official” 360 Frida-thing on the market (a tricky label to slap on the show considering the history of who manages the artist’s legacy). Featuring a mix of immersive projections, VR and IRL installations, standard tickets start at $34.99.
Over in Toronto there’s Immersive Frida Kahlo, a show from the same team behind Immersive Van Gogh. Like the production in Montreal, visitors will be drawn into Kahlo’s life story, here told through a blend of archival imagery and artwork. The artist’s niece and grand-niece (Mara Romero Kahlo and Mara De Anda) were at Lighthouse Artspace Toronto for the show’s local premiere in late March.
They’re fans of this one, but they’ve given their thumbs up to other Frida-centric extravaganzas too — productions that have yet to reach Canada, including Frida: La Experiencia Immersiva, a light show that appeared in Mexico City last summer. Tickets start at $29.99, and just like Immersive Van Gogh, there’s the option to join a Frida-themed barre flow or yoga class.
Or if you’d prefer to bathe in more art nouveau environs, Lighthouse Artspace Toronto is also presenting Immersive Klimt: Revolution, a tribute to the Austrian painter (starting at $39). There are, of course, some Klimt clones already out there, but Gustav Klimt: Gold in Motion and Klimt: The Immersive Experience have yet to reach these borders.
Immersive Monet and the Impressionists?
Viewing Monet’s Water Lilies at Musée de l’Orangerie feels a whole lot like the grand-pappy of “immersive entertainment,” so a multimedia extravaganza just feels like a gimme. According to the website of Toronto‘s Show One Productions, an Immersive Monet and the Impressionists production is in the works for sometime this summer (details TBA).
Beyond Monet is brought to you by the same creative team as Beyond Van Gogh, and since closing a run in Toronto this year, it’s set to appear in two more Canadian cities (Calgary and Ottawa). Further information on those particular tour dates has yet to be revealed, but whenever (and wherever) Beyond Monet lands, the show is designed to envelop a 50,000 square foot exhibition space.
One more company with a stake in Big Van Gogh is also bringing a Monet exhibit to Canada. Their dates, however, are already on the books.The show opens in Edmonton (June 8), Quebec City (June 10) and Ottawa (June 16).
'Historical moment': Digital art auction for Ukrainian medical aid set to launch in London, Ont. – London | Globalnews.ca – Global News
A London, Ont., resident from Ukraine is helping to support the individuals fighting in his home country with an upcoming charitable event.
Dmitry Tarabanov is working in collaboration with Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation to organize Avatars for Ukraine, a charity auction featuring digital art pieces known as non-fungible tokens (NFT) — a form of crypto technology that can neither be replaced nor interchanged because every digital “footprint” is monitored.
All proceeds from the auction will go towards medical aid for Ukrainian soldiers.
“We have injured defenders of Ukraine who have been protecting it for three months,” said Tarabanov. “There are thousands of injured people, and we would like to start helping them as soon as possible.”
Mykhailo Fedorov, vice-prime minister of Ukraine as the minister of digital transformation, shared the news of the upcoming event on his social media platforms.
“Ukraine’s top video game developers together with digital artists created a charity NFT collection Avatars for Ukraine,” he said.
A total of 70 artists are participating in the auction on May 19, following the theme of reflecting the war and “the incarnations of the spirit of Ukraine in its fight for existence,” according to the Avatars for Ukraine website.
“It’s the face of my nation at war,” said Tarabanov. “At its core, each piece of artwork makes up an important part of the spirit, soul, wisdom, love and freedom of Ukraine.”
Tarabanov said an ample collection of Ukraine’s artworks is focused on previous wartimes, including the Soviet era and the Second World War. He stressed the importance of separating the upcoming auction’s digital artwork from anything seen in the past.
“The times are changing and that includes the way art is produced,” he said. “It’s a historical moment, just like the comic industry releasing special issues of Superman during war times in the ’40s. I think the current war is the first time in history when video games are actually playing the part in helping people who are affected by the war in Ukraine.”
He added that the auction’s name, Avatars, comes from Sanskrit — an ancient Indo-European language of India — and means incarnation or embodiment.
“It represents universal justice that is not based on human law, but based on one of a higher concept,” he said. “So, the idea is those images are just the avatars for Ukraine, as a nation and as a people.”
First coming to Canada around seven years ago, Tarabanov is originally from a town near Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine.
In wanting to not only help those fighting against the Russian invasion, but also to help keep family members in good spirits as they flee the active war zone, Tarabanov hopes this upcoming auction can provide some relief for all.
“From medical aid, treatment and prosthetics, our hope is to have this help everyone return to a once-normal life.”
Available globally, the auction goes live on Thursday, May 19.
More information can be found on the Avatars for Ukraine website.
© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Art Club features Gray's work in the gallery – Virden Empire Advance
Beautiful work of the Virden Art Club is May’s display in Arts Mosaic’s CPR Historic Centre gallery.
The Art Club is featuring the work of the late Myrna Gray, past president of the club. You can view a number of her pieces including several works in sepia toned coffee art, a favourite of Myra’s.
Brenda Cameron, current president of the club, is thrilled to have the club re-starting after the two-year hiatus. “We usually take the summer off,” says Cameron, “but we’ve received permission to meet at the Wellview Golf clubhouse.” Club members will lunch together there and then create in the beautiful, windowed space. Virden Art Club meets two Tuesdays per month.
The work on the walls of the CP Train Station includes three dimensional pieces, fabric art and traditional paintings – well worth an in-person visit to Arts Mosaic’s gallery.
Arts Mosaic offers arts programming, workshops and education to communities in the RM of Pipestone, RM of Sifton, RM of Wallace-Woodworth and the Town of Virden. Artists from around the area are invited, each month, to display their work in Arts Mosaic’s gallery.
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Baffled by all the immersive art exhibits happening across Canada? Here's a guide for you – CBC.ca
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