During the nearly-unprecedented catastrophe that is the spread of the coronavirus, it’s important to make peace with the fact that the forthcoming weeks are going to be completely unpredictable. For art-lovers, artists, gallery workers and museum executives alike, this is a bad situation. Recently, Observer published a comprehensive guide to a series of thrilling museum exhibitions to check out this spring, but it’s becoming increasingly evident that IRL museum visits may not be possible anytime soon. With this in mind, we dug up some of the great virtual exhibitions you can check out from home: all you need to lose yourself in art is access to the internet.
Since 2013, the New Museum in Manhattan has been running “First Look: New Art Online,” a monthly exhibition series through which new digital artwork is commissioned from exciting artists and presented on the museum’s website. There’s a ton of interesting stuff in First Look’s backlog, but the most recent addition, a browser-based game/art installation created by the artist Cassie McQuater, provides a perfect cocktail of intellectually stimulating diversion. McQuater’s Black Room functions as an eerie, trancelike journey through increasingly menacing dreamscapes.
If you’re looking for a more classically soothing experience, the Frick Collection’s website includes a virtual tour of the entire museum, as well as comprehensive access to the collection’s complete audio guide. Sure, podcasts are calming in times of crisis, but wouldn’t you rather hear the history of Vermeer’s astonishing Officer and Laughing Girl being read to you by someone with an authoritative British accent?
Those searching for a distinctively realistic virtual experience should look no further than artland.com, where an excellent 3-D tour of Daniel Crews-Chubb’s “Cave Continuum,” which has been on display at Timothy Taylor gallery in New York City since February 7, can be found. Via VR technology, Crews-Chubb’s fascinating paintings of abstract figures in animalistic distress can be examined from different angles and zoomed in on. Sure, it’s not the same thing as standing in a gallery space in the afternoon while enjoying the warmth of the sun playing over your face, but it’s pretty close.
Kunstmatrix, an online platform that enables artists to showcase their work for audiences all over the world in 3-D is the perfect platform for this series of acrylics on canvas made by Yulia Kazakova, an award-winning visual artist who’s based in Berlin. Her work is extraordinarily intricate, mechanical and it also conjures a sense of the infinite: long tunnels give way to dizzying voids, workers the size of ants toil in the shadows of enormous machines and tunnels veer terrifyingly out of the spectator’s view.
Conceived of in 2017 by Sotheby’s and Studio Libeskind, the Kremer Museum is not a physically accessible, brick-and-mortar place but rather a museum that exists solely in the realm of virtual reality. Without having to reckon with annoyances such as capacity regulations or plumbing, the museum instead seeks to be the perfect backdrop for its works of art, which include pieces by Jan van Bijlert, Ferdinand Bol and other Dutch and Flemish masters of the craft. Access to this unique museum can be purchased on VR platforms like Steam for only $9.99.