An immersive art exhibit of the work of artist Vincent Van Gogh is at Samanea New York in Westbury. Projection technology presents the 19th-century postimpressionist's paintings unconstrained by physical frames. NewsdayTV's Elisa DiStefano reports.  Credit: Randee Daddona

Long Islanders  can now get a major dose of Vincent Van Gogh. The works of the postimpressionist are the focus of a new art exhibit, "Beyond Van Gogh," running at Samanea New York in Westbury through May 14. Here, Van Gogh’s paintings are displayed in a modern way using projection technology that brings the art beyond the frame.

“The exhibit literally allows the audience to step foot in the space covered in projections all over the walls, the floor and everywhere in the room,” says Fanny Curtat, art historian and creative team consultant. “It puts the viewer in the middle of the painting on a large scale. You have a sense of being inside the world that Van Gogh created, which helps you connect with it differently.”

The "Beyond Van Gogh" immersive art experience that features projection...

The "Beyond Van Gogh" immersive art experience that features projection technology. Credit: Timothy Norris

The hourlong exhibit has been presented at over 40 cites in North and South America selling more than 4 million tickets. The Long Island exhibit will feature 300-plus paintings spread across 30,000 square feet, which is broken down into three sections.


The first section, dubbed the Introduction Hall, lets attendees get to know Van Gogh from his dark years in the Netherlands to his most famous period in the south of France. This room communicates Van Gogh’s thoughts and ideas through light panels, magnified texture of his work to showcase the pattern of his brush strokes and words from Van Gogh in three different languages (French, English and Dutch).

“You get to learn about the history of Van Gogh, his conversations with his brother and the issues he had throughout his life,” says Justin Paquin, executive producer of "Beyond Van Gogh." “Learning his backstory prior to seeing the artwork is something you don’t get to experience in any of the other shows that are being created out there.”

Curtat adds, “For us, it’s about focusing not so much on the darkness of his myth — the ear-cutting incident, the poverty, the mental illness issues — but on the sacred energy of his world like the power of color and the human quality of nature. Van Gogh found beauty in the world and anchored himself to that.”


The next space is known as the Waterfall Room, referring to the movement of the projections on both the wall and floor.

“This room is really about entering the projection world — blending the pixel and the pigment,” says Curtat. “It’s all the elements that are so easily identifiable as the style of Van Gogh but applied to a very digital treatment. It shows how his style translates so well to contemporary tools.”

Plus, taking selfies and video clips to post on social media throughout the exhibit is completely encouraged.

“People get to take photos of themselves as part of the show, which is exciting,” says Paquin. “So often we are just looking at something, now you get to see yourself in it.”


In the final phase, the Immersion Room, the full exhibit comes into play as the projections are displayed over the entire 360-degree space.

“It’s a trippy experience because everything moves around you,” says Curtat. “It draws different feelings from different people. Some are elated while others are moved to tears.”

There’s a 35-minute animation loop in the Immersion Room that makes the painting projections come to life.

“You might see portraits blink at you, windmills that move, birds fly and flowers that grow all around you,” says Curtat. “There’s something very playful about that. You never know from which painting it’s going to arise.”


Perhaps Van Gogh’s most noted work is his 1889 masterpiece, “Starry Night,” which is on full display.

“People remember that powerful twirling sky more than anything else about the painting,” says Curtat. “Van Gogh is not painting a realistic view of a landscape, he’s painting the way he perceives it. It’s a very striking image.”

There’s also a Van Gogh gift shop that sells clothing, puzzles, notebooks, mugs, magnets, pencils, jewelry and more decorated with his artwork.

Paquin has indicated that if the Van Gogh exhibit is popular there’s room to extend it and plans for others as well.

“ 'Beyond Van Gogh' won’t be the only show that we bring to the market. We will have other shows to bring to the same location,” says Paquin. “We want people’s love for art to be rekindled by a valuable experience here.”


WHEN | WHERE  Through May 14 at Samanea New York, 1500 Old Country Road, Westbury

INFO 800-441-0819,

ADMISSION Adult $45.99-$55.99, child (age 5-15) $29.99-$34.99, tickets must be purchased in advance


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