Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Immersive Monet

The question is whether or not one can repeat something twice. When I went to the Immersive Van Gogh exhibit last year, I was intrigued. Granted, I was also in a particular physical/emotional state that may have contributed to my receptivity to explorations of light and color. But I thought it was well put together, "artistic in its own right," I said. I thought it was just a one time thing we were going to get to have for a season. But this year, Immersive Monet and the Impressionists followed. Then there will be a King Tut exhibit. Then The Nutcracker. 

My first thought from all this was that, well, it was good once, but if they keep doing this, are people going to still be willing to pay for those pricey tickets again and again? As someone pointed out to me, though, the newer exhibits are probably to attract a different crowd. Someone who wouldn't have gone to see an exhibit on paintings might go to see a King Tut exhibit. A family who didn't go to the others might go out for The Nutcracker. So maybe people went to see Van Gogh also won't keep going.

I did go to see Monet, though. I had to. I had to check out one more; curiosity gets me that way. I want to see what's been done and what's on offer. There is probably some element with this of the novelty wearing off a second time. But it wasn't just that. This exhibit was composed differently than the Van Gogh one was. Very differently. 

I spoke so highly before of the movement of particular brushstrokes. Well, you can do that with Van Gogh because of the shape of his brushstrokes. They were able to make living paintings with his works. Most of the time with this exhibit, they didn't even try to recreate the effect because you can't. In a couple of instances, they did something similar, which while not the same was still nice enough. I also appreciated things before like the flickering candlelight. Here there seemed to be less "animation" like that. The train let out puffs of steam, so there was that. I would have to sit down with each exhibit and make lists. It's possible that this is just my memory imagining that the Van Gogh exhibit had more animation; maybe they were the same. I can't say for sure; it just felt like less.

There were sections that were very beautiful. The rolling ocean. The plants and trees coming to life before our eyes. What it felt like, though, was as if certain sections had received more attention than others. Van Gogh felt like we were following a storyline of emotion. Here, we were just seeing paintings cut and pasted in creative ways, with some sections that had more detail. I did enjoy watching it all unfold, and I do like the music that accompanies the exhibit. I get delight out of analyzing things like this. But is it something where if you've seen one you have to keep going and see them all? No, not really. (Granted, this is also taking price into account. If tickets were more affordable to the average person, then perhaps I would be more likely to say that it's a nice little outing to check out whatever is new at the Lighthouse Artspace.) 

So we go back to our original question. Can one repeat something twice? Some experiences viewers can return to again and again. Some creators can keep going and make one movie, one show, one book, one exhibit right after the other--and keep making something as celebrated as the first. But other things are less easily repeated. Is Lighthouse immersive one of them? I'll be curious to see how they do in the future with the new exhibits and whether or not attendance keeps up.

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