For one artist, digital adaptation is nothing new. A gallery opens a new show during shutdowns. An arts conference goes virtual. And the Norton Simon Museum offers a telescope craft for kids.
In the last week, my inbox has been overflowing with ways that museums, galleries, and art museums are going digital in this time of social isolation. I’m so encouraged by how our art community has been adapting, supporting one another, and facing the challenges of each new day. Here are a few resources and stories, and more to come every week.
Parker Ito’s exhibition was ready for digital viewing
Before gallery closures and shelter-in-place, Château Shatto’s website included very robust documentation (photos and short videos) of their current exhibition by Parker Ito.
In a recent email, the gallery director Olivia Barrett explained to me that “several of the conversations about Parker's exhibition — even prior to the new conditions imposed by this health crisis — were about the specificity of experiencing the exhibition in person, and Parker's consistent and particular approaches to the documentation and dispersion of exhibitions via internet-enabled technologies.
The videos online were captured to convey some of the movement and sounds within the exhibition, especially the overall sensorial pulsing, a metronomic quality that can either lull or disquiet the experience of the work.”
I asked Barrett how the gallery closures would affect our local art galleries. She said, “This crisis reminds us how contingency-averse capitalism is. Businesses big and small are revealed to be mostly skin and bone.
… There's no way of knowing how long this will be drawn out, so I can't speculate on the effect this will have on artists or galleries. ... But I hope that in the rush to return to something that resembles our previous set of operations, that we don't return to the same system that has left a whole society incredibly feeble.”
Wilding Cran Gallery opens exhibit during statewide shutdowns
On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a California-wide "Stay at Home" order. On Saturday, Wilding Cran Gallery opened a new exhibition. I talked to the gallery co-owner Anthony Cran about his decision to open a show during the shutdown.
He said: “When we started to install the show last Monday, we had every intention to have some sort of an opening, even if it was by appointment. Everything has moved so quickly in the past week. By Thursday it was clear that we had to close our doors.
We feel that we owe it to our artists to keep going during this time, and that bringing art to our community — even if it’s only digitally for now — is providing a beneficial service. … A lot of people have written to thank us for continuing on with our program.
Fingers crossed that ‘going digital’ will reach a wide audience. It is a really beautiful show and needs to be seen even if on a screen.”
I asked Cran what kind of support the gallery and its artists need during this uncertain time. “Simply put, we need to make sales, in order for our artists to make an income and for the gallery to remain open,” he said.
Common Field conference goes virtual + artist resources
For the past six years, Common Field, an arts advocacy nonprofit, has hosted yearly Convenings, each time in a different city. The conference is attended by 500+ art organizers and is a place to share resources, ideas, connections, and methodology.
The upcoming Convening was scheduled to take place in Houston in April. It would have consisted of panels, break-out sessions, dinners, events, and more.
Common Field announced this week that they will take the Convening digital, and it’ll be free (usually participants pay a ticket price). More details to come on Common Field’s website.
Additionally, Common Field shared this open-source document that is filled with artist resources like artist grants, teaching and tech resources, health signage and more.
Make a telescope viewfinder at home
The Norton Simon Museum is stocked full with great resources for kids and parents who are adapting to home-schooling, from curriculum packs, to tips on looking at art with children, to crafts you can make at home.
Here’s a simple at-home art project that can help focus on looking, and being thankful for the beautiful details in front of us.
Using a foam brush, add glue all around your toilet paper roll and wrap your sheet of construction paper around the roll. This will be your base color. You can also collage directly onto the roll. Choose your favorite collage papers, and cut them out into your desired shapes, and glue them onto your telescope. Explore patterns by repeating shapes and colors. Take your viewfinder outside and find a detail that catches your eyes. Using a paper and pencil, draw what you see!