Art Versus Coronavirus: Digitally Well-Adapted Galleries Are Thriving.
Music by: Cabaret Nocturne – Outlaw King.
Globally, events across every industry are being cancelled with dizzying speed, and one of the industries getting hit hard, is the arts. In New York, art organisations are being forced to cancel spring fundraisers and galas, which contribute towards indispensable funds for the organisations. Many institutions are sadly set to lose millions from these cancellations. In addition, revenue from admissions, group visits and event space rentals has also halted, and New York galleries have been slow to get on the digital train.
Can the same be said for London? We reached out to some London arts institutions for comment.
Sotheby’s – for example – is thriving due to their well-established online-only sales system. A spokesperson told CULTED that sales are going well, with the gallery reaching a quarter’s worth of sales in just one month. Sotheby’s is also rolling out new digital-first catalogues later this month, aimed at bringing the broad array of art they offer to life. They claim that investment in technology is changing the way people can access all the wonderful artworks that haven’t been so widely available to view before.
The British Museum has also seen visits to the online site double within a week, with a surge of people coming from all around Europe. Visits from Italy increased more than ten times since the country went into lockdown and “virtual tours” is among the top searched keywords on the site, with visitors flocking to see the gallery’s 8-million strong collection.
Similarly, the Wallace Collection is working hard to make collections viewable online, while developing new ways to explore the collection via their website and social media. While the gallery has had to close its doors and postpone exhibitions, a spokesperson said that exhibition partners and lenders have been very understanding in the current situation. They added that they have always embraced digital technology as a vital means of sharing their objects and artworks around the globe.
All this goes to show that people will always find a way to enjoy art, even when going to see it in person becomes impossible. The virtual enhancements are even making it possible for more people to access artworks that were not so readily available before.
Nevertheless, we do miss strolling through galleries and hope to return to those quiet, art-filled rooms very soon!
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See also: CURATOR CALLS FOR HUGE NATIONAL ART PROJECT AMID CORONAVIRUS