Arts Around the World for a Time of Isolation
last updated 6/7/2020
In this time of pandemic, everyone should try to stay home and practice the choreography of social distancing. The great and the small venues for culture and the arts are shuttered, there are no in-person openings, concerts, no music in salons and clubs; but, if you have a computer or smartphone and time, culture and the arts are alive and active in the Web.
On this page, the Croton Council on the Arts offers some suggestions about what is out there for the looking. Think of this as merely a tasting menu, and an invitation to search out the arts you know and love and discover the arts you are totally unfamiliar with. If you know of some interesting site that is not on our list and wish to suggest that it be added, please send us information about it to firstname.lastname@example.org..
Table of Contents
Arts Westchester now offers a “weekly guide to virtual arts happening you can enjoy from home … [which] includes children’s activities, live streamed concerts, recorded performances, artist workshops and more!” and a more complete list of “Virtual Cultural Offerings” in Westchester
The Garrison Art Center, Garrison, offers a virtual exhibit on Instagram of “Postcards from a Pandemic” and invites artists from anywhere in the world to submit work to it. Garrison Art Center also offers online classes and workshops.
There are also sites which, while not designed to be general guides, are fertile ground for self-guided exploration completely different from the experience of using one of the prominent search engines like Google. For example, Issuu.com, which bills itself as a media company, makes freely available online a wide variety of past publications from or about arts institutions and the arts which you can find with the search function on Issuu’s home page. Some examples, chosen pretty much randomly, to illustrate the possibilities for exploration:
Museums -- “Drawing Papers” from the Drawing Center, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletins; The Museum of Islamic Art, Qatar; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Bogotá, Colombia; the Dallas Museum of Art.
Galleries and Auctions - Christie’s; de Veres Art Auctions, Dublin; Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH, Munich; Chiswick Auctions, London; Waddingtons, Toronto; Webb’s Auction House, Auckland, Skinner, Inc., Boston.
Music - Guides and programs from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; programs from the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival Yale Summer School of Music, New Haven.
“African Literature Social Distancing” long readings and discussions in various languages including English by the authors and “bibliophiles” on Instagram in Afrolit Sans Frontiers until June1 - see this virtual literary festival’s Facebook page for updates on new presentations (it appears that earlier sessions this year are still available)
Venice Institute of Contemporary Art’s Fine Arts Film Festival - June 8 - 14
The online IFPDA Fine Art Fair Spring 2020 of fine art prints is on view May 13 - June 13
Tribeca Film Festival “Short Film a Day Keeps Anxiety Away”
South by Southwest [SXSW] (Discussions and Videos about Film, Music, Poetry) - see SXSW Sessions Online for schedule of live streaming and links to on demand past sessions
Ashland Independent Film Festival Virtual Festival (May22 - June 14) - subscriptions or memberships may be required
Virtual visits of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings through public websites participating with the Frank Llyod Wright Building Conservancy
Current comic strips from GoComics
Selections from the Library of Congress
A list of craft museum from the Brooklyn Refinery, some of which have image collections online
Museum of International Folk Art, Santa Fe
Dance Magazine, “The Dance Performances that have gone Online” (from March 16)
The New York Times, “12 Places to Watch Dance Online” (April 7)
From the Jacob Burns Film Center in Briarcliff:
A “Virtual Screening Room” and
A List of 100 Movies available through cable or streaming, recommended by Andrew Jupin, Burns Senior Programmer
From the New Yorker:
From BFI, London:
Where to Stream the Best Silent Films surprisingly suggests looking in Netflix and Amazon Prime, and not so surprisingly BFI’s own Player.
Eight New York City museums have created together the first virtual Museum Mile Festival, with live events, recorded programs, exhibition tours and more. See more on Twitter and at the website of the Museum of the City of New York.
Many museums offer something they call “virtual tours,” sometimes allowing you to ramble through galleries, sometimes collections of videos and/or photos. How sites give you access varies widely, ranging from a virtual tour where you can “walk around” to slide shows where you flip between pictures. Where possible, we indicate the type of trip you will have.
There are many lists of museums which offer virtual tours, some lists from unexpected and expected sources:
Here are some of the many museums that offer virtual tours, videos, and/or collections of images:
The Art Institute of Chicago (collection)
Ashmolean, University of Oxford, UK (collections on line, illustrated short essays about parts of the collection, and unique offerings, such as “The Elements of Drawing, John Ruskin’s Teaching Collection at Oxford”)
The Clark, Williamston, MA (collection)
The Drawing Center, a small but dynamic museum in New York (SoHo) dedicated solely to drawing, has presented over 300 exhibits since its founding in 1977. Most have been documented in scholarly illustrated catalogues, with many of its published “Drawing Papers” since 1999 readable online with excellent quality. (After you select a Drawing Papers, click on “Read the Book Online” in black, then again in red. This takes you to Issuu where you expand the book to full screen for best view of details, and leaf at your leisure through the pages.) An example of an outstanding recent exhibit is the 2019 “The Pencil is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists.”
The Frick Collection, New York (ramble: scroll down home page; collections: click on “art”)
The Melvin Holmes Collection of African American Art, San Francisco (collection)
Frida Kahlo Museum, Mexico City (ramble)
The Menil Collection, Houston (online - sophisticated publications, short videos called “Features”)
New Museum, New York (virtual guided tours)
The Philadelphia Museum of Art (collection)
The J Paul Getty, Los Angeles (various, including audio tours)
The Royal Scottish Academy of Art and Architecture, Edinburgh (exhibit images); browse its collections at artuk.org and all artworks in The Academicians’ Gallery
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington (ramble via Google Street View, videos, collection, VR)
The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia (ramble - slow to load)
The Louvre, Paris, has 3D virtual tours (ramble), but seems to be so heavily used that the site may load very slowly (a real shame since it was one of the first museums to offer a real virtual tour where one can move from room to room in an exhibit).
Museo del Prado, Madrid (collection through various inventive approaches including AI as well as videos - scroll down home page and click on an “+” to open the avenue you choose)
The Museum of Fine Arts, Buenos Aires (collection)
Museum of Contemporary Art, Bogotá (collection, videos, including of performance art)
The National Gallery, London (ramble and collection, scroll down home page to select)
The National Gallery of Art, Washington (rambles)
The National Portrait Gallery, London (most accessible are videos)
Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels (numerous online Bruegel exhibits; videos)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (collection)
Tallinn Art Hall (Tallinn Kunsthoone), Tallinn, Estonia (ramble)
Uffizi Galleries, Florence (collection, through various approaches)
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam via, of all things, Google Street view.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London (collections - covering art, architecture, theatre & performance, photography, fashion, and more)
And there is a massive trove of virtual tours, collections of images and discussions of exhibitions, experimental games about art, and more at https://artsandculture.google.com/?hl=en, including The Museum of the World giving an elegant historical framework to the collections of the British Museum, https://experiments.withgoogle.com/collection/arts-culture, Google’s collection of images of artwork you can search by artist, medium, art movements, historical events, historical figures, and places (click the four parallel lines upper left in artsandculture.google.com.
Auction houses and some galleries give a wide audience a peek at works to be put on the block, as some dealers give detailed insights into their specialties and some artworks in situ in private spaces.
Mark Broch is Dutch old masters dealer with a good eye for art in historic, country and canal houses; and a joy for elucidation on his Instagram feed.
Saatchi Fine Art (collections)
Southeby’s (works available for private and on line sale)
Some smaller galleries have banded together to allow virtual visits or to showcase what is on their walls. The Gallery Association of Los Angeles will be doing that starting May 15 on the web and Instagram.
Some galleries offer online exhibits but ask you to register (name and email address) before you can look, such as the Howard Greenberg Gallery in New York.
In recent years, street art has burgeoned, in some places with governmental approval and even support, and in other places despite government.
Global Street Art offers artists’ own posted images from around the world.
The Google Art Project: Street Art offers videos with narration of street art sites around the world but with some odd omissions (such as UK and Ireland); also videos of artists at work and talking about local art.
Inspiring City has images and more about street art from the UK and elsewhere.
Some sites celebrate or coordinate the work of local street artists:
KotisStreetArt.com, Greensboro, NC
The International Center of Photography offers thumbnails of photos in past and current exhibitions (when you select an exhibit, click on “contact sheet”); at “Engage with ICP from Anywhere,” it offers better ways to “Explore Our Collections,” some “Virtual Public Programs,” some videos (“Experience Our Exhibitions”), online classes (for a fee), and >>> invites all the public to share photographs of the world of the pandemic (“Participate in ICP’s Community Open Call”).
The Library of Congress makes available on line images from its vast collection of collections (also videos about particularly collections, such as the noted Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) Photograph Collection, with images by outstanding photographers like Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans)
The National Gallery of Art, Washington (Essays; search the collection)
Some sites offer specific or some past exhibitions online, such as “One Third of a Nation: The Photographs of the Farm Security Administration” from the Howard Greenberg Gallery (you have to register - name and email address - to see it).
There are many places to access music in addition to the major free (such as basic Pandora) and paid sites (such as Apple and Amazon). You can also search sites such as Youtube by type of music (for example, Tuvan Throat Singing) or instrument (e.g., glass harmonica).
Here is just a sampling of specific sources:
Angelica Women’s Chamber Choir, Northern Westchester County, NY. This choir, in which Claire Collins, a CCoA board member is active, has issued its first “Angelica in Quarantine” concert on YouTube and is expecting to do more. You can subscribe to all its work on YouTube under Angelica Voices.
New York Times, “The Bang on a Can Marathon, Still Lovably Scruffy Online,” May 4, 2020 (article and links)
Classic FM [digital radio], “The best live-streamed classical music concerts available online”
Collegium 1704, Prague (choral) via YouTube
Historical recordings from the vast collection of audio available online from the Library of Congress
Jazz from Jazz at Lincoln Center, NY
King’s College Choir, Cambridge, UK (choral) via YouTube
The Metropolitan Opera, New York (daily streams)
The Orchestra of St. Luke’s is launching a Bach at Home online festival at noon on June 23, 2020
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London - “RPO at Home”
Stile Antico, UK, Early Music Vocal Ensemble - look particularly for the Thomas Tallis “Spem in Alium” recorded in lockdown with 40 parts (sung by fewer than 40 singers) over 40 days (plays on YouTube). If you listen carefully the voices produce a background somewhere between a carrier wave and the beat of a human heart.
WQXR offers several live streams, including its FM broadcasts of classical music (“All Live Streams”), concerts and programs from the past, a blog - which includes “Music in the Time of Pandemic: Brilliant Compositions Written in the Years of the Spanish Influenza”, “At Home Musical Activities and Resources”)
And then there are places where you can see scores and more, such as The Morgan Library and Museum (‘Music Manuscripts on Line”)
The New York Times:
“Fire Up Your Laptop: A Curated Guide to Theater Now Online” (article with links), May 4, 2020
“Streaming Plays Give Big-Name Actors a Chance to Give Back” (article with links), May 4, 2020
“Hungry for Some Unclassifiable Theater? Dinner is Served” (article with links), June 3, 2020
Timeout, “The best live theater to stream online on [insert date here]” (descriptive list)
Poetry and Science at “The Universe in Verse” by Brainpickings.org (streaming video)
A trove of poetry at the Poetry Foundation (text - can be searched by poet or title or by those published in Poetry Magazine, or to do it by audience age - go to “Learn” tab - or by theme - go to the “collections” tab; podcast).
In 2019, the Poetry Foundation (along with Complexly and the poet Paige Lewis) launched “Ours Poetica,” a video series with new readings every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, still running and available on Youtube and reachable through Facebook. The title of the series is of course a pun on “Ars Poetica,” a poem that explains the “art of poetry,” including Archibald MacLeish’s “Ars Poetica” where he sums up one of the fundamental approaches: “A poem should not mean / But be.”
Many of the sites on this list include videos of discussions with or remarks by artists, performers, writers, musicians, or curators. Some other sites offering such conversations:
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