Imagine Van Gogh: Experimental Art Exhibit Misses the Mark


Laurence Labat

Although visually striking, the Imagine Van Gogh exhibition, currently on display at Boston’s SoWa Power Station, gets old quickly.

Amanda Wylie, Editor

With floor-to-ceiling projections and 360° immersion, it’s hard to believe that the Imagine Van Gogh exhibit, on display at Boston’s SoWa Power Station now through March 19, 2022, could be described as lackluster. Pantherbook was invited to the U.S. premiere of the experience on December 20, 2021, but it unfortunately failed to impress.

Before entering the main exhibit, visitors can read about the life of Vincent Van Gogh. (Amanda Wylie)

Upon entering the SoWa Power Station, visitors find themselves in a warehouse-like space, divided by massive curtains. They are ushered towards a room filled with hanging signs that detail Van Gogh’s life experiences. These were interesting to read, but were a bit overwhelming, especially considering the bricks of italicized text and unclear order of the posters’ progression. Some guests skipped straight through this “room” and into the immersive exhibit itself.

First of all, this exhibit presents an absolutely incredible photo opportunity. Despite the variable lighting (a necessity for the beautiful projections) and the mask requirement, you can get some fantastic pictures for your Instagram page. When you’re done snapping photos … there’s not much else to do. It’s hard to enjoy the shifting images, which seem to loop every 30-45 minutes, when there’s nowhere to sit and you can see the entirety of the room within the first 30 seconds.

The scale at which the paintings are displayed is impressive; you can often see Van Gogh’s brushstrokes. (Amanda Wylie)

On a more positive note, the sweeping classical music that emanates from speakers all around the room adds greatly to the majesty and grandeur of this exhibit. If you pay attention, you’ll see all of your favorite Van Gogh paintings, from The Starry Night to Sunflowers to lesser-known works like The Bedroom. Incorporating the floor into the projections into the added a whole other layer of immersion.

Imagine Van Gogh is certainly a unique experience, and fans of Van Gogh’s work will enjoy its experimentality, but it simply does not compare to a traditional art museum. Social media influencers should head here for some interesting photo backgrounds. Art lovers should save their limited funds for the Museum of Fine Arts. After all, tickets start at $39.99 per person (plus parking), and the experience simply doesn’t justify the cost.

“Genuinely, I wouldn’t pay $40 for an exhibit in general,” says senior Halle Goldsmith. “It just doesn’t seem worth that much. You’re going to walk through once and leave feeling unchanged.”

Anika Patchala, also a senior, comments, “It’s so pretty, but it’s not even the first Van Gogh projection show that’s come to Boston, so I’m all set.”

If you are interested in making a judgement for yourself, tickets can be purchased here.