Art lovers drive to Toronto for safe Van Gogh show

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TORONTO – While some museums have had to cancel or postpone long-planned exhibitions due to the coronavirus, the organizers of a Van Gogh show in Toronto had a new idea: to offer art lovers a drive-in option. “Of course, because of COVID, we had to think creatively,” said Corey Ross, co-producer of the exhibit, which was originally scheduled to start in May and was delayed by the pandemic.

As Canada’s largest city is gradually emerging from isolation, the exhibit began this week with two viewing areas in a huge warehouse in Toronto: an area with circles of social distancing on the ground for those who prefer to initiate to art on foot, and another for people from cars that enter the building directly.

Seeing the art of the inside of a car provides a safe experience for the physically frail, virus-fearing or vulnerable. And it’s a unique experience, said Ross.

“You have never had such an experience in your car,” said Ross. “The feeling is almost as if the car is floating through art. ”

The show was set up in collaboration with the creators of “Van Gogh, Starry Night”, a very popular exhibition presented last year at the Atelier des Lumières in Paris.

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The Toronto show presents a similar digital concept: the works of the Dutch painter are projected in high definition on walls and floors.

The warehouse can accommodate up to ten cars at a time and park in designated locations.

The engines of the cars stop during the projection of the works of art, which is accompanied by music. The paintings are positioned so that people can see them through their windshields.

Some people take pictures with their children on their lap as they spend 35 minutes in the bold and intense world of Van Gogh.

Friday, Jessica Counti, 17, came with her family for the first edition of the drive-in to celebrate her sister’s birthday.

“It’s just a really immersive experience that you can’t really have in an ordinary art gallery. So I really appreciate that, even if we can’t walk around works of art, ”she said.

Another visitor, Patrick Corcoran, attended the show from the wheel of his 1950 Plymouth vintage.

“Sitting in your car and being outside and enjoying the art – it was comfortable, it was safe. With everything that is going on in the world with COVID, it was an experience. It was awesome. ”

Ross said the idea was proving to be a success but that it would just be temporary.

“If you are a car enthusiast, this is a very special moment,” he said.

“But I think that as a whole, as soon as there is an opportunity for the public to start living art again as we like, in a group, next to other people, where you can talk and see strangers and see how they react and are part of a community, I think we’ll come back to that, “said Ross.

The art hall for cars is reserved almost solid until its end on August 9.

The show will remain open to pedestrians until September.

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