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Beyond Van Gogh

Atlantic County Magazine – GACCA Article

Print Date 7.8.2022

By Judy Brenna

Catering and Special Events Director, The Deauville Inn

((Judy enters the auditorium stage, wearing a white puff sleeve button-down and taupe midi pencil skirt, tortoise shell cat-eye reading glasses resting on the bridge of her nose. She stops at the podium, while pushing the hair out of her face, picks up the screen remote, turns to the 40’ large silk screen and clicks the power button on)). The importance of Art. Why teach it? I’m glad you asked. It’s been proven that early exposure to visual art, music, or drama promotes activity in the brains of young folk. Art helps children understand other subjects much more clearly, from math and science to language arts and geography. Art nurtures inventiveness as it engages children in a process that aids in the development of self-esteem, self-discipline, cooperation, and self-motivation. ((slowly pulling reading glasses off and gently placing them on the podium. She looks up with tremendous purpose)). Participating in art activities helps children to gain the tools necessary for understanding human experience, adapting to, and respecting others’ ways of working and thinking, developing creative problem-solving skills, and communicating thoughts and ideas in a variety of ways. In other words, keep art education in schools ((a woman in the backrow gasps)). Let’s take this a step further now. Why is Art important for adult brains? It has been recently released that adults who both created art and attended arts events reported higher cognitive functioning and lower rates of both hypertension and limitations to their physical functioning than did adults who neither created nor attended art. So, ladies and gentlemen, we can conclude in conclusion, that even when you’re grown, art literally makes you smarter, stronger, and faster. ((turns off projector screen and looks out at the audience)). You're welcome.

The dramatics, I know. I was a drama major, what you do want from me? Anyhoo, we have the unbelievable privilege of having the art exhibit, Beyond Van Gogh, in Atlantic City this summer, starting July 8th and running through August 28th, at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. I’m going to tell you why this art exhibit is unique and absolutely like no other. While other shows use virtual reality or still images, this show breaks barriers by incorporating both still and moving art. Masterpieces, now freed from frames, come alive, appear, and disappear, flow across multi-surfaces, the minutia of details titillating your heightened senses. I imagine it as literally diving into the canvas. One of my most favorite places to visit when I lived in New York City, was the MoMA. I used to spend entire days there, and not just because they had the most glorious air conditioning ((you do what you can to survive when you’re a young, starving artist in the thick of summer heat)). I would sit at a bench, relishing in the cool air and would just stare into a painting for hours at a time, imaging myself inside it. I did this often with Monet's Water Lillies. What’s amazing about this show is it turned my dream into reality. The show is projected on every inch of surface around you, making you feel as though you’ve stepped directly into a Van Gogh painting ((and perhaps a very enjoyable Dr. Strange k-hole)). And to boot they accompany the show with an uber awesome musical score, only enhancing the experience to a high level, quite possibly melting your brain. Check out the playlist here:

Sure, the mass of us knows the base story of Vincent Van Gogh. Born into a middle-class family, suffered from severe mental illness, lopped off his own ear with a razor. Was it for the intense love for a woman? Was it because he had severe tinnitus? No one really knows! ((Fun side note I had the WORST case of tinnitus and literally almost ripped off my ear so…)). But what made him invaluable, was how he paved the way for modern art as we know it. Also, he wasn’t famous until after he died, which I think is super interesting, and also very sad that he didn't get to enjoy his notoriety. Labeled by art historians as a “Post Impressionist”, Van Gogh sits among other artists like Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, and Paul Signac, ((apparently if your name is Paul you should be an artist)) among others. While Cezanne ((one of my personal favorites among many)) played his part with faceted planes and his very rational approach to his medium, Van Gogh, with his tremendous emotion and expressionism paved the way for Matisse ((another personal fave)), who opened the door for Modern Art today, at least in my very humble opinion. The best part is for a lot of modern art today you can see glimpses of post impression influence. So… thanks, Van Gogh, one ear and all.

If you are seeking something educational and also mind-melding for the entire family, or an out-of-the-box date idea, or maybe even just an escape from the stress of your everyday reality ((looking at all the lines on the desk phone lighting up at once)), take an hour and consider Beyond Van Gogh. Go immerse yourself in the world of Van Gogh like you've never experienced before. This is truly a rich and unique multimedia experience, taking the viewer on a journey through over 300 iconic artworks including instantly recognizable classics like "The Starry Night", "Sunflowers", and "Cafe Terrace at Night", now freed from their frames. Set to a symphonic score using the artist's own dreams, thoughts, and words to drive the experience as a narrative, Van Gogh's art comes to life by appearing and disappearing, flowing across multiple surfaces, and heightening the senses with their immense detail.

You will not only leave with a new appreciation of this prolific artist's stunning work. You will also be left breathless and somewhat wanting for more, and maybe even a little beholden to Van Gogh himself. It will change you, in all the most awesome ways. Change the way you think. Change the way you feel. And give you a gigantic dose of appreciation for art. I challenge you to go see for yourself.

Until next week, folks… #stayjerseystrong!

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