April 9, 2020 – By Tess Hardy
We’re currently in the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak and most people’s summer plans have been put on hold. Many establishments are temporarily closed as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. But where does that leave art galleries and museums?
In order to enable and maintain the engagement with art that is so crucial in these testing times, some institutions are suspending exhibition programming and instead innovatively publishing them online as viewing rooms or virtual tours.
This will be music to the ears for art lovers. Since you can’t visit them, we’ll bring the exhibitions to you. We’ve listed below our five favourite digital art galleries for you to step into online so there’s no need to worry about fear of missing out.
Pace is a leading art gallery which plays a vital role in the art world for modern and contemporary art. It represents international artists across seven locations worldwide: two galleries in New York, one in a wing of the Royal Academy building in London, as well as galleries in Hong Kong, Palo Alto, Geneva and Seoul.
David Zwirner Gallery
David Zwirner intends to show challenging, contemporary art without compromise. With spaces in New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong, the gallery represents over 60 artists and estates, with over 300 exhibitions to date, and has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.
The art dealer himself, David Zwirner, developed the idea of virtual viewing rooms in 2017 as an alternative way to sell art and has since presented 50 viewing rooms in the last three years. He stated:
“The online platform is something we have envisioned as an important part of what we do.”
The on-screen format serves much like a physical gallery; it is perfectly informative and engaging with a ‘narrative quality’. It provides a media-savvy, well-devised experience. Visit the gallery’s three existing viewing rooms here, by Doug Wheeler, Pathological Color by James Welling, and Yun Hyong-keun.
The Courtault Gallery
If you’re into impressionist and post-impressionst paintings, the Courtault Gallery is for you. Located in Somerset House, London, the Courtault Gallery houses the art collection of the Courtauld Institute of Art, a college specialising in the study of the history of art and conservation.
The collection comprises 530 paintings and 26,000 drawings, and extends into the 20th century alongside German Expressionism and modern British art. Take a virtual tour of the gallery here, and roam each room in exceptional close-up quality.
Hauser & Wirth
Hauser & Wirth, a family business with a global outlook, has expanded over 27 years with venues in Zurich, London, New York, Somerset, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Gstaad. The gallery gives you options to explore viewing room and online art fair presentations, showcasing both emerging and established artists plus modern art from around the world.
On show at the moment is George Condo’s exhibition, Drawings for Distanced Figures. Take a look here, where you can also access Louise Bourgeois Drawings 1947 – 2007, as well as previous viewing rooms such as Rita Ackermann: Works on Paper, and Rashid Johnson Ceramics. Sign up to the newsletter to receive updates on what’s to come next.
MoMa and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Last but not least, we think you should take a trip overseas to ‘the big apple’, just because you can. Google Arts & Culture is an amazing online platform whereby you can explore the most famous realm of galleries, such as MoMa – the Museum of Modern art – and the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
MoMa is one of the largest and most influential museums with almost 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art. Their online collection comprises more than 85,000 works! View them here, or take a tour of the gallery here.
The Guggenheim Museum is the permanent home of a continuously expanding collection that has grown over eight decades. Our exhibitions of choice are The Fullness of Color: 1960s Painting, exploring how avant-garde painters pushed abstraction in new directions, and Marking Time: Process in Minimal Abstraction, featuring the works of Agnes Martin, Roman Opalka and Park Seo-Bo.
The architectural design of the Guggenheim by Frank Lloyd Wright is worth seeing alone, but to experience the vast interior of the landmark cylindrical building, take a virtual tour here. Short audio guides are also available: listen to curator Megan Fontanella discuss The Fullness of Color: 1960s Painting and curator David Max Horowitz and conservator Jeffrey Warda discuss Marking Time.
Digitalisation of art
In ambiguous times such as these, art can provide a comforting appreciation of creativeness. The coronavirus has accelerated the exploration for galleries to continue on as virtual communities with an abundance of art to keep you occupied online.
This year is paving the way for digital exhibitions, but the art world going virtual is just the beginning. Given the current restrictions, culture has been made more accessible through technology. Online viewing rooms and virtual tours are now the backbone for the art industry in order to sustain global discussion and inspiration. They are fun inaugural tools for the dialogue of art and collaboration. The quick pivot from physical to digital art looks like a positive adjustment to reality that might be here to stay.