Discover Germany, Switzerland & Austria
Our art and culture columnist Matt Antoniak explores how museums and galleries head online to survive in these challenging times.
With public spaces, museums and commercial galleries closing across Europe as precautionary measures, these are unprecedented times for everyone. Artists and art institutions have had to think quickly to put public safety first. In the case of Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, this has resulted in up-and-coming German painter Tom Król live-streaming the opening of his exhibition on Instagram as a one-man show to an empty gallery, after the decision to postpone the preview came at the last minute.
And in these uncertain times, it might seem like access to culture is a trivial concern. However, culture is part of the framework that binds us and unites us, and operates as a mirror to our world.
So, with a bit of creative thinking, you can still get your fix.
Some might say that it is about time that the art world moved online. And if you use Instagram, you will find that whilst temporarily closed many museums and galleries are posting their archive of exhibitions. In a world that is always churning out new visual content, this provides a time to reflect and look back.
However, if you want a slightly more immersive experience, let me point you in the direction of Google Arts and Culture.
A huge undertaking in collaboration with 500 partners worldwide, this online portal allows you to virtually tour thousands of exhibitions, galleries and collections. Ever fancied a browse through the collections of the Bode Museum, Berlin, or through the ornate halls of the MAK, Vienna? Now is your chance. Of course, seeing these things in real life is incomparable, so plan ahead and visit once the current situation has changed.
Lastly, a mention to the smaller spaces; the off-spaces and the non-profits. There is a vast and rich world of artist-led activity operating without big budgets, that provides the foundations of support for artists. In times like these, they will be tested more than most, and it will be these who will need your support in future. Art has a tremendous power to supply hope and to bring people together. Stay safe and support each other.