The Game of Gogh

A portion of “Les Vessenots in Auvers” – Vincent Van Gogh (1890) @ Columbus Museum of Art

It seems like everybody who’s anybody is trying to find a way to help the modern populace get a little bit closer to understanding the work of Vincent Van Gogh.

Which makes writing about him here all the more intimidating.

I’ve literally been sitting on this post for three days, trying to come up with something that won’t simply be a riff (rip?) on what the many exhibition flyers, articles, books, social media posts, et cetera ad infinitum are already making all too clear to anyone whose online activity fits what must be an incredibly broad algorithm, like “literate person who likes to do stuff”.

For whatever reason, he is the 19th century artist of the 21st century. Which I realize is like seeing a film that came out on January 1st and calling it the movie of the year. And yet, from my vantage point, it’s clear that his art is penetrating and persisting within our current pop culture far beyond any other artist from 100+ years ago. So far. (Oh yes, dear readers: Immersive Monet is coming.)

Full disclosure: my aforementioned “vantage point” is completely distorted and biased. Vincent is one of my favorite artists, and I have been known to go out of my way to catch a new take on his works and spend more than a few lingering minutes on his pieces when I discover them in the halls of museums great and small.

So maybe I’m seeing it everywhere because I am the algorithm.

Either way, it’s with fear and trembling that I work on describing what his art means to me, just how much I adored the touring exhibition Through Vincent’s Eyes: Van Gogh and His Sources, and just how much I value not only experiencing his art firsthand but also going beyond the “pretty picture” and connecting with it in a way that is more personal. More fulfilling.

Somewhere along the way, an original idea about Van Gogh may even emerge.

But I won’t hold my breath.

Shot on Pixel 6 Pro.

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