In mid-April, Berlin art duo Elmgreen and Dragset will erect a 4.5-ton vaguely ear-shaped swimming pool outside Rockefeller Center. Titled “Van Gogh’s Ear,” the absurd public sculpture is only the latest example of the van Gogh-mania sweeping the art world. We’ve seen a deluge of artistic homages to the Dutch post-impressionist in recent years, from an AirBnB rental modeled after van Gogh’s famous bedroom in Arles to “Starry Night” recreated in a petri dish to a genetically faithful replica of the artist’s sliced-off ear. The tributes practically constitute an art movement unto themselves (Fan Gogh-ism? Vanboy Art?). In honor of what would’ve been Vincent’s 163rd birthday (March 30th, ok, we know, we’re late), we’ve ranked 11 tribute works, from films to parade floats to works of crop art, on a scale of one to five left ears.
Amsterdam-based fashion house Viktor & Rolf’s Van Gogh Girls collection, sculptural haute couture dresses inspired by “Sunflower” paintings. The dresses were treated as art objects in themselves –– a few were acquired by the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam.
“Starry Night” recreated in a petri dish: For the American Society for Microbiology (ASM)’s Agar Art contest, artist Melanie Sullivan recreated the painting’s famous swirls out of infection-causing bacteria.
In van Gogh’s birthplace of Zundert, the Netherlands, artists built massive floats from Dahlia blossoms inspired by the artist’s floral paintings for the annual Corso Zundert parade.
Van Gogh’s “Olive Trees” (1889) recreated in a field. Commissioned by Mia to celebrate the museum’s centennial, the 1.5-acre work of crop art by Stan Herd, a Kansas-based artist, replicates van Gogh’s “Olive Trees” with grass, dirt, plants, and serpentine paths.
A glow in the dark bike route inspired by van Gogh’s “Starry Night” in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Swirls formed from thousands of glow-in-the-dark stones are embedded in concrete (along with some guiding solar panel-fueled LEDs). It’s part of the Smart Highway project, led by Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde’s Studio Roosegaarde.
A full-size, 3D replica of Vincent van Gogh’s famous painting “The Bedroom” (1889), complete with rustic twin bed, pale violet walls, copper-green wood floor, and straw hat on a peg. Created by the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC), it’s available for rent on Airbnb.
Loving Vincent, “the world’s first feature-length painted animation,” is a forthcoming film that tell the van Gogh’s life story through over 120 of his own animated oil paintings. Oscar-winning animation studio Breakthru Films brought together 100 painters trained specifically to mimic van Gogh’s own technique and brushstrokes, with each frame composed of actual, hand-painted artworks.
A genetically faithful reproduction of van Gogh’s Ear. Using genetic material culled from Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson of Vincent van Gogh’s brother Theo, artist Diemut Strebe created a genetically faithful reproduction of the ear Vincent van Gogh reportedly cut off in 1888 during a psychotic episode. Enough with the cute Starry Night tributes. This ear may be the first step in creating the van Gogh tribute artwork to rule them all: A clone of the man himself.