Closed museums: how to continue to see art during the period of confinement?
How can you get a dose of art every day? One of the consequences of the coronavirus crisis is the closure of art galleries and museums among the places that welcome the public.Does this mean that during the entire time of containment, no more art to be put on hand? Far from it.Since the beginning of the week, numerous initiatives have been taken to allow art lovers (but also those who want to discover it) to contemplate paintings and learn more about the history of great and famous artists.
Screwed into your sofa, how can you enjoy artistic
masterpieces from around the world or buy them if you can? There is no shortage
of proposals, as museums have developed, over the last few years, to put their
collections online. One of the richest
portals for exploring works of art from around the world is Google’s:
“Google Arts & Culture”, launched as a laboratory about ten years
ago, is a gold mine for art lovers.
Among the most impressive – and most interactive – functions is the possibility to visit museums virtually with Google Street View, with, as in a real museum, an information sheet for each work of art presented; but also 360° tours (especially the one of the Palace of Versailles, which is impressively realistic) or paintings to be explored down to the last detail thanks to an ultra high definition camera.For the most curious, Google has also designed virtual exhibitions.Right now, for example, you can discover a selection of objects from the Bauhaus period or linger on the portraits of Vigée Le Brun.A part of the virtual exhibitions are in English but can be translated thanks to…Google Translation, which is integrated.The service has forged partnerships with many museums, such as here, the MuCEM, in Marseille, which has given access to its reserves:
Other museums have designed their own online exhibitions: this is the case of the Louvre, which offers a daily focus on a different work of art from the museum on its home page; or the Jeu de Paume, in Paris, which offers daily content related to its exhibitions on its Instagram account.
When the Musée d’Orsay (and others before it) offer their Instagram account to artists
This is also the case of the CAPC, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux, which develops a daily “cultural retreat” on its Instagram account based on the contents of its collections.
On Twitter, the keyword #ConfinementMuséeURL, launched a few days ago, makes it possible to find many of these initiatives.In addition to the major national and international museums, you can also find numerous initiatives, such as the Norman museums that share their collections in many fields (art, but also archaeology), or the FRAC Grand Large, which makes its collections of contemporary art and design accessible.
The “Art at the Window” initiative…
It was with the keyword #lartalafenetre that an Instagram user launched the idea, Tuesday, by showing a photo of her windows covered with drawings, postcards, printed pictures…”Without being able to continue my work at the museum, I tried in my own way to keep art alive,” she explained.
Relayed by the “Culturez-vous” blog, it has been taken up by a few other users, in the manner of initiatives calling for singing on the balcony, with always the same idea: to give works of art to be seen at one’s window, to take over from closed museums.
Creation always alive
Does being stuck at home, confined, necessarily mean no longer creating? Not at all, on the contrary.Contemporary art continues to develop, on the Internet, on networks.Thus, a video work created by Lauren Huret and Fragmentin in parallel with the exhibition “Le supermarché des images” at the Jeu de Paume (which we mentioned above) takes on a very special resonance: it captures, on a permanent basis, the five most viewed videos at a given time T on “a famous online platform for sharing content” (we strongly suspect that it is YouTube) to make a mix, a “mash-up” as complex as it is fascinating to watch.
The artist Alain Séchas, known for his antropomorphic cats, to whom he has given many daily adventures, is continuing a project launched more than a year ago on Instagram: one drawing a day, often filled with humour.This time, his cats are also confined, and live pretty much as they can – like all of us, in fact.As for the painter Johanna Tordjman, due to the lack of new models for her paintings, she suggests that confined people send them a photo, which she uses as inspiration to paint in spite of the confinement.
Those channels that bet on art on TV
There are many other tools to access art on television: there are television channels (Museum TV, etc.), YouTube channels (Art Counting for Nothing, N’Art, etc.), and the Internet.), podcasts devoted to art (such as “Bulle d’Art” – directed by the author of this article – or “Vénus s’épilait-elle la chatte” devoted to the place of women in the art world) and some audio content produced by the museums themselves: the Musée d’Orsay has put forward a series of podcasts offering “imaginary walks” in famous paintings – if, for example, you’ve always dreamed of taking part in the famous Moulin de la Galette ball.
Finally, to pass the time while observing pieces of art, one of the most original initiatives comes from the Saint-Raymond museum in Toulouse, which offers colouring of its archaeological objects for downloading.