As the novel coronavirus spreads, the cultural sector has slowed to a halt: Museums and galleries are shuttered in many countries, and fairs and festivals have been canceled. At the advice of experts, people are hunkering down to self-quarantine and practice social distancing. The situation is evolving quickly, a new reality is being forced upon us, and fields like architecture and painting can seem trivial. And yet, at moments of such isolation and crisis, art, design, and performance can offer powerful means of connection—and a welcome escape from the disorienting present. With exhibitions and concerts called off, our editors survey six low-risk ways to experience culture—from David Zwirner’s community viewing platform to coloring sheets from RxART, and more. —The Editors
Quarantine Culture: 6 Ways to Experience Design and Art Without Leaving Your Home
The short films of SXSW, Loewe’s crafty Instagram Live series, captivating global history documentaries, and other resources for you to enjoy from the comfort of your living room.THE EDITORS April 06, 2020
Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac: Artists Eye
“What an extraordinary thing this is,” Antony Gormley marvels, while cradling a small fossil in his hands. In a home-recorded video, the artist explains that the smooth object, made from ancient single-cell organisms, “speaks to us about life, about our place in the sequence of time and life. I would like to make things that are as inevitable as this.” The intriguing video kicks off Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac’s weekly Artist’s Eye series, which asks an artist to introduce viewers to one of their most prized possessions by explaining its history and how it influences their creative process. If each artist’s presentation is as thought-provoking as Gormley’s, we have a lot to look forward to. —Ryan Waddoups
At the risk of sounding hippie-dippie, this crisis will require worldwide cooperation, so it’s an ideal time to survey the rich cultural history of the entire planet. Fire up the BBC miniseries Civilizations! Released in 2018, the nine-part documentary ventures from ancient Egyptian pyramids up to the grand public sculpture of Kara Walker. Richly filmed, crisply edited, and charismatically hosted by Simon Schama, Mary Beard, and David Olusoga, it offers a captivating overview of what disparate people and places have in common. A $5 donation to PBS provides access to the show, along with a boatload of other programs. Screen it for the nationalist-minded family member you’re stuck at home with, or send a copy to your local political leader. —Andrew Russeth
Mailchimp: SXSW Film Festival
The cancellation of South by Southwest last month scuttled the debut of many films by emerging directors. But the show goes on, at least online, thanks to the boutique distributor Oscilloscope Laboratories and the technology company Mailchimp, which teamed up to build a digital platform that will stream the vast majority of the festival’s short films for at least 30 days. Though it can’t quite replace the experience and camaraderie of attending SXSW, it’s a relief that these films will see the light of day. The list of 2020 Grand Jury Prize recipients is an ideal starting point for exploring the more than 75 movies on offer. —R.W.
Loewe en Casa
Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson is a restless supporter of experimental artists and designers. He has adorned the Spanish fashion brand’s clothes with the radical pottery of Takuro Kuwata and conceived the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize to celebrate craft in contemporary culture. Anderson has now launched Loewe en Casa, a series of online events, talks, and workshops through Instagram Live, to showcase work of collaborators and prize finalists across metalwork, weaving, ikebana, goldsmith, ceramics, and other forms. Last week’s programming included studio tours by the artists Sophie Rowley and Koichi Io and a conversation between Loewe Foundation president Sheila Loewe and furniture makers Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley. This week, expect studio tours with wood artist Julian Watts, ceramic sculptor Irina Razumovskaya, and metal artist Adi Toch. —R.W.
Coloring From Home with RxART
Every weekday at 4 p.m., RxART—which taps artists to create site-specific displays at children’s hospitals—is streaming live video on Instagram of an artist coloring a page that they conceived for one of the nonprofit’s coloring books. Daniel Heidkamp, Tara Lewis, and Sam Falls have all participated so far, and other big names are on the way. If you have a printer, you (or the whole family!) can print out the page and work on the same drawing, but do not be dissuaded if that’s not possible. This project fosters camaraderie and community—the simple joy coming together to make some art. Consult the group’s ‘gram for more information. Seeking more coloring sheets? Last week’s Quarantine Culture featured a bunch from Louise Lawler, an RxART alum, available on the Museum of Modern Art’s website.) —A.R.
David Zwirner: Platform and Dialogues
As galleries and museums have shuttered their physical spaces in response to the global health crisis, many have launched virtual viewing rooms to showcase the work of artists whose spring exhibitions were canceled. David Zwirner has taken things one step further by debuting Platform, an online initiative that invites 12 New York–based galleries to share a presentation of available works from a single artist. Participants include Lower East Side and Brooklyn outfits like Elijah Wheat Showroom (showing Zsófia Keresztes), Magenta Plains (with Nathaniel Robinson), and James Fuentes (with Keegan Monaghan). Once the New York edition wraps up on May 3, Zwirner will offer up a London edition, with more to come.
While you’re browsing, we also recommend tuning into Zwirner’s podcast, Dialogues, which brings together a medley of multidisciplinary artists to survey how they think across disciplines. The current season features conversations with artists Mamma Andersson and Jockum Nordström, artist R. Crumb and cartoonist Art Spiegelman, cultural critic Kyle Chayka on Donald Judd and the complex legacy of minimalism, and artists Diana Thater and Rachel Rose. —R.W.