As the days get shorter and the air colder, it’s tempting to swap that weekend culture trip for a cosy afternoon wrapped up on the sofa, and with many galleries closed in response to Covid-19, that may seem to be the only option. However, thanks to the resourcefulness of artists, museums, galleries, and fairs, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy world-class exhibitions from the comfort of your own home. Let art come to you with ArtWeb’s curated list of the top virtual exhibitions this winter — from Instagram-inspired exhibitions to virtual viewing rooms.
Virtual Summer Exhibition – Royal Academy
Dates: 6 October 2020 – 3 January 2021
Missing the long days of summer? The Royal Academy has you covered. For the first time in the prestigious institution’s long history, its acclaimed Summer Exhibition will, on this occasion, fall in winter. With over 1,000 artworks on display across 11 rooms, get lost with the click of a button inside the interactive tour.
The institution’s virtual viewing rooms contain works by well-known artists and emerging creatives just waiting to be discovered. This year features new works by the likes of Tracey Emin, Rebecca Horn, Anselm Kiefer, Julian Schnabel, and Ai Weiwei. Once you’ve taken the tour, why not take a close-up look at the works for sale on their website. You can browse by category, price, or take a peek at the curated online gallery, a selection of work handpicked by this year’s coordinators Jane and Louise Wilson.
Hindsight Exhibition – Jerwood/FVU Awards 2020
Dates: 29 October 2020 – 13 December 2020
Responding to the theme of ‘hindsight’, the winners of this year’s Jerwood/FVU Awards 2020 explore how ideas change through time and generations, revealing the complexities of reflecting on the past. Usually exhibited as a large-scale video installation within the Jerwood Arts gallery, London, this will be the first time that the awards take place online.
Both of this year’s winning films, Guy Oliver’s You Know Nothing of My Work and Reman Sadani’s Walkout 1, are available to watch in full on the Jerwood/FVU awards website, alongside newly commissioned texts, interviews with the artists and much more.
Augmented Empathy – FACT
Dates: 03 September 2020 – 14 February 2021
Can Instagram filters be used as tools for empathy? That is the question at the core of Keiken’s new digital exhibition, developed as a collaborative commission with FACT, Liverpool. A cross-disciplinary collective, Keiken’s work focuses on world-building through new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality. For this particular project, they have created four new Instagram filters, and a series of accompanying videos that can be accessed through the Augmented Empathy website. The playful futurism of their work is underpinned by some big thinking — challenging how we connect to nature, animals, ourselves, and each other. For the tech-savvy amongst you, try out their augmented make-up tutorial using Spark AR software.
London Art Week
Dates: 27 November – 11 December 2020
To supplement its summer event, London Art Week has created a new digital space consisting of curated viewing rooms that can be accessed through its website this winter. A major showcase of the current art market, it boasts over 50 participating galleries and three auction houses, dealing in painting, drawing and sculpture from antiquity to the present day. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be in the market to buy to enjoy and learn about the stunning works of art on offer. The exhibition coincides with London Art Week’s annual Symposium, also online on this occasion, which celebrates the renaissance master Raphael on the 500th anniversary of his death. And if that’s not enough, there’s a whole roster of online talks from well-seasoned experts on a variety of art historical topics. This one on Nordic Artists and the Sublime looks particularly interesting.
Living the City
Dates: 25 September – 20 December 2020
Having opened in Tempelhof Airport, Berlin, in September, the exhibition is now also available for online viewing. Living the City’s digital showing begins with a virtual collage of urban scenes, which contain within them more than 50 stories from people relating to city life. These stories are sorted into eight thematic areas: loving, living, making, participating, learning, playing, moving, and dreaming. Each area features imagery and text from multiple projects, accompanied by individual audio guides. Elsewhere on the website you can find guided film tours, a range of digital events from the supporting programme, and further recommendations from the curatorial team.
The Enclosed Garden – Heroines
Dates: Ongoing for 2020
The Enclosed Garden is a nomadic, night-time exhibition hosted by Heroines, an international feminist network who focus on exploring intimacy, sexism, and oppression. Initiated by Celia Stroom in 2019, the second edition of The Enclosed Garden is a multimedia labyrinth of videos, text, recordings and music, where each webpage constitutes its own artwork. Whilst you’re browsing the world of Heroines, make sure to take a look at their archive, which displays artworks by a range of female photographers, working between 1905 and 1965, whose work is drenched in symbolism and surrealistic imagery.
New Contemporaries 2020 – Bloomberg New Contemporaries
Dates: 30 September 2020 – 14 March 2021
Annually championing the work of emerging artists from UK art schools and alternative learning programmes, New Contemporaries is back for 2020 with a specially created digital platform designed by the innovative HATO. A new roster of 36 art graduates, selected this year by internationally renowned artists Athena Hamilton, Alexandre da Cunha, and Linder, explore themes of identity, class and multiculturalism through a variety of mediums — from photography and moving image to painting and sculpture. Their work is free to access digitally, alongside artist blogs, workshops and a host of online projects to be rolled out over the coming months.