Gone Digital: The Almighty Art World Guide

With the help of digital solutions, cultural institutions are continuing to enrich their audiences online during Covid-19.

Covid-19 has already had an unprecedented effect on the art world. Countless museums and galleries have closed down, biennales indefinitely postponed, and sales cancelled. Thankfully, with the help of digital solutions, cultural institutions are continuing to enrich their audiences online. In this day and age, staying at home doesn’t necessarily mean you have to miss out on great art and culture. Please do keep checking this list as it will undoubtedly be frequently updated with more enriching content.

  • For 22 years The Baltazar Theatre in Hungary gave its members, mentally disabled actors, the opportunity to emphasize their talent. In an effort to continue its mission despite the quarantine, they share the film ‘Lend Me YourEyes, Baltazars’ online. The movie covers the troupe’s previous trip to India, the story of both an external and an internal journey. The 56min film won the prize for “Best Director Documentary Feature Film Category” at the Jaipur International Film Festival in 2018 and was featured at the 42nd Montreal Film Festival. You can watch it on Vimeo.
  • For the first time in history, Russia’s Bolshoi Theatre is going digital. A total of six performances, including opera and ballet, will be live-streamed until April 10th, the first being the legendary ballet Swan Lake. Don’t miss your chance to travel all the way to Moscow through Bolshoi’s official YouTube channel.
  • Sofar, the biggest global live gig community, has launched Keep Listening. Tune in every night as artists host live shows, for free. It might be less “live” than you’re used to, but it will definitely keep your spirit up!
  • Renowned digital artist Tamiko Thiel brought her AR piece Evolution of Fish back online on ARpoise augmented reality app! You can guide the fishies to swim around you–but interfere too much into their ecosystem and they turn to plastic. Hold very still, leave them alone and they will become fish again. Virtual life mirrors real life! Download here
  • Launched by a Seattle-based theatre company, OntheBoards.tv is a platform that delivers full-length, high quality contemporary performance films made by top caliber artists with multiple high-definition cameras. From Russian classics to “Bronx Gothic”, over 60 performances can be enjoyed for free until end of April.
  • Sotheby’s hosted multiple successful live auctions that have sold over 90% of their lots, bringing in over $60 million in sales just over the past week.
  • On March 20th, Art Basel launched its week of online viewing rooms which were announced back in February (remember February?) as a response to the cancellation of the Hong Kong edition of the fair.
  • The Berlin Philharmonic is shut but will continue to play in its digital hall, while the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra is offering free concerts online.
  • The Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, which had a major Rembrandt retrospective on show, launched a full virtual tour of the exhibition since the city went on lockdown.
  • A letter issued by the government of China suggested that museums should “enrich the people’s spiritual and cultural life during the epidemic” with “cloud exhibitions”. Even the famous terracotta warriors can now be viewed online in full splendour.
  • Jewish Museum has allowed visitors to engage with their collection through the voices of artists and curators online with Mobile Tours, available on any device.
  • Coursera has given access to university students access to their courses. At the moment the access is free and will remain open until 31.07.
  • You can now also access 300 free online courses from the world’s leading ivy league universities.
  • Enjoy top-class performances from The Viennese Opera, which will begin streaming its program online. Listen to Siegfried and other classics from the comfort of your sofa.
  • The Metropolitan opera is launching Nightly Opera Streams, which features recordings of operas from their archives. The screenings all begin at 19:30 New York time, and will be available for you to watch for 20 hours. The full schedule can be found here.
  • Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev announced Castello di Rivoli’s innitiative titled ‘Digital Cosmos’. The project features a series of informative videos available on their website. For all the Italians staying at home the online venue offers a cultural outlet to learn about piece’s in the museum’s collection.
  • The Berlin Philharmonic is offering free access (available with a promo code and valid until the 31st of March) to all archived footage of previous performances is closed.
  • The Bavarian Opera is also offering free access to its performances – you can now listen and watch Il Trovatore, featuring Jonas Kaufmann’s wonderful tenor.
  • If you love classical music and opera but haven’t yet signed up for medici.tv, then you’re losing out. They offer wonderful archival footage featuring beautiful  voices that have long left us, as well wonderful contemporary performances.
  • Shakespeare’s plays (in English) from The Globe, The Royal Court and The Old Vic theatres, offer a Digital Theatre. This website offers a £10 per month subscription as well as 48 hour rental options for specific plays.
  • Medium has launched a Coronavirus page free from paywall restrictions with personal stories and articles curated by in-house heath specialists.
  • Endel, an app that provides personalised soundscapes to help you concentrate, relax and sleep (and is currently enabling this blog to be put together amidst exploding media coverage) is now available for free.

In these times of social distancing, cultural institutions can thankfully continue to offer their audience enriching content thanks to the online space. A number of museums have adopted the .ART domain as their permanent digital home. Here is are some of them for you to visit while you stay home:

  • CLEVELAND.ART: The Cleveland Museum of Art was founded in 1913 “for the benefit of all the people, forever.” They have extended their Open Access policy and now offer their audience 3D images of public domain artworks from their collection.
  • MAXXI.ART: MAXXI, the National Museum of 21st Century Arts, is the first Italian national institution devoted to contemporary creativity. While it is presently closed, it is posting daily features across its digital channels.  “While we stay at home, thanks to digital, we still manage to have the world at our fingertips”, Paolo Benanti writes.
  • MMK.ART: The Museum für Moderne Kunst carried out a research project to inventory, catalogue and digitalise its works. It is currently offering broad access to this material for research purposes on its website. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

We will continue to monitor the digital world for invigorating content to help keep you inspired in these isolating times.

.ART Team
.ART Team
members are global citizens with interests ranging from art history to social justice. If we had an office cat we would have called it Basquiat.