Art in the Modern Age

Art in the Modern Age

Remi McKim, Journalist

I recently went to the Van Gogh Exhibit in Scottsdale over the weekend. A lot of my friends had gone before I went, and while I had no clue how the exhibit would be, I was very excited for it. 

I enjoy art. Having to go through an art history class at my old school, I have been subjected to a good amount of art to know what I like. My personal favorite movements are impressionism and post-impressionism. Modern art tends to be too blocky, holding no emotion to be looked at. Art, at its core, is the human expression of what words fail to express. Modern art simply doesn’t hold any emotion or feelings. However, all art is subjective so no art is objectively bad. 

The Van Gogh exhibit is a wonder before you even walk through the doors. The stairs going down have been painted exquisitely with Van Gogh’s art and the logo for the exhibit. Sunflowers, a subject that shows up often in Van Gogh’s work, follow you down the stairs before the door. 

Once inside, you can easily see the walls are painted in the style that Van Gogh perfected. There is a sign that shows Vincent rockin’ a cowboy hat, with Old Town Scottsdale written above and below. There is a wall that displays his favorite flower in hanging circles that create his painting. From the get-go, the ambience of the exhibit is set. Not only is this a way to showcase Van Gogh’s art, this is a new medium for it to be experienced. The same familiar images are shown in a different way, an interactive stimulating encounter with Van Gogh’s art that has never been done before.

Before entering the exhibition, there are rows of illuminated arches in black and white, the brightness ebbing and flowing through each arch. Alongside there is a sign that discusses the exhibit will have auditory and visual stimulation, and says that earplugs will be provided for those who ask and those who need to step out for a moment will be allowed back inside.


The main exhibit is a 35 minute presentation projected onto the walls. There are two areas, a smaller area and a larger area, which both have the presentation playing. The art moves, with music in the background. Images float above or move in and out of view, blending into various other paintings. The paintings blink, candles flicker, a book flips its page, and the skeleton smokes with the smoke puffing out and disappearing into the background.

Art is deeply tied to the artist themselves. Vincent Van Gogh fought a myriad of mental illnesses and did not find success in his living years. The way someone sees themselves figuratively can be seen in how they see themselves literally. To see the different variations of Van Gogh’s self portraits next to each other gave a new dimension to his art that truly blossomed in this medium. You were able to give your attention to all of the portraits simultaneously as instrumental music played softly in the background.

Besides the presentation, the exhibit gave more time to talk about Vincent as a person. There were rows upon rows of his letters written on pieces of glass. A voice in the background read some of the contents as you stepped over letters projected onto the ground.

Overall, the exhibit did a wonderful job to encapsulate the feel you get when looking at Van Gogh’s artwork while submerging you within his art. The exhibit twisted something familiar into a new format, breathing new life into the work of Van Gogh.

This same day and with the same friends, I went to the Udinotti art gallery where I was not able to take photos. The owner was nice, but the building was very quiet and we were alone with the Mid Sommar-esque sculptures and paintings. 

All of the paintings and sculptures surrounded us, and not in a Pinterest art gallery type of way but more so an unsettling, do-not-take-your-eyes-off-of-them-or-else type of way. 

The biggest difference between this art gallery and the Van Gogh exhibit was the presentation. Of course, these two places are not competing. But, to keep up with the modern consumption of art, a stimulating environment really helps. The Van Gogh exhibit changes the medium in which the art is presented, which helps with the shortened attention span of the general public nowadays. An art gallery/art museum is still fun to go to; however, it can get boring after the first ten minutes. The Van Gogh exhibit did a good job of maintaining and captivating the audience’s attention. The colors and use of different mediums made the Van Gogh exhibit stand out and gave the audience a fun and exciting experience. It was a magical and unforgettable memory.