Company behind ‘immersive’ Van Gogh exhibitions files for bankruptcy

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Lighthouse Immersive, a Toronto-based company best known for its travelling Vincent van Gogh exhibition—in which large-scale reproductions of the Dutch artists’ works are projected over gallery walls and floors—filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy in Delaware last week, according to court documents obtained by Bloomberg News.

The company, which purports to have sold 7 million tickets to exhibitions in 18 cities across North America, has also designed displays featuring art by Claude Monet, Gustav Klimt and Frida Kahlo, as well as Disney animations. The filing protects the company’s US assets while insolvency proceedings continue in Canada.

Lighthouse Immersive’s productions belong to a genre of projection-based art experiences that has surged in popularity over the past decade. Companies like Lighthouse Immersive, Culturespaces, Artechouse and others create multisensory digital displays that keep viewers engaged through active motion and interactive intervention.

Corey Ross, co-founder of Lighthouse Immersive, told Artnet News in 2022 that the sector’s rapid growth was due in large part to its fresh approach to presentation. “I have been experiencing art in art galleries since childhood and the presentation has more or less stayed the same—paintings on the walls with labels,” Ross said. “The public is extremely curious to experience a new genre, and once they have seen it done well they love it”.

Given the high cost of tickets ($35 a piece) and the low cost of using images that had entered the public domain, Lighthouse Immersive’s operations were widely believed to be a profitable concept. However, in June, the company cancelled highly anticipated shows in Houston and Atlanta; no reason was given for the cancellations at the time.

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