Quarantine Culture: 7 Ways to Experience Design and Art Without Leaving Your Home

A look into the life of Hayao Miyazaki, the Architecture & Design Film Festival’s virtual edition, Gagosian’s weekly artist spotlights, and other resources for you to enjoy from the comfort of your living room.

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 seven low-risk ways to experience culture—from FaceTime interviews with artists to online screenings of overlooked movies, and more. —The Editors

Still from Spirited Away. Image courtesy Studio Ghibli.

10 Years With Hayao Miyazaki

Back in February, Studio Ghibli’s beloved animated films—including Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke—started streaming for the first time on Netflix outside of North America, and its entire catalog will be available on HBO MAX when that service launches in May. (A dedicated Studio Ghibli theme park is even slated to open in 2022.) For those in need of an immediate fix, I recommend diving into the mind of its creative force by streaming 10 Years With Hayao Miyazaki, a four-part documentary series that illuminates his creative process and personal life. The documentary touches upon Miyazaki’s most acclaimed films (My Neighbor Totoro, Ponyo, and The Wind Rises, among others) and shows how Studio Ghibli addressed the devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011, an inspiring example of artists responding to crisis. —Ryan Waddoups


Screenshot of Augmenting the Virtual. Courtesy AV.

Augmenting the Virtual

The superb sculptor Ajay Kurian—who’s based in New York but sequestered at the moment in Baltimore—has been conducting FaceTime interviews with artists whose exhibitions have been affected by the ongoing crisis, and the results charm. Each episode is a rich and accessible conversation of about 40 minutes that provides not only a deep dive into one person’s practice but also a heartening reminder of the sheer joys of thinking about, debating, and simply viewing art (even if only on a screen). First up is the great painter Sebastian Black, whose outing at Clearing in Brooklyn has been curtailed. Many more episodes are on the way. —Andrew Russeth


City Dreamers. Image courtesy Architecture & Design Film Festival.


Now that social distancing has eliminated the possibility of in-person gatherings in many locales for the foreseeable future, the Architecture & Design Film Festival is taking things to the web. Its founder, director Kyle Bergman, has launched ADFF:ONLINE so that its dedicated following of architecture and design enthusiasts can still tune in. Taking place April 16 through 19, the virtual event will stream one film each night, with a live introduction and a Q&A session with the film’s director, for the modest fee of $0.99 per film. This year’s lineup includes The Human Shelter (directed by Boris Benjamin Bertram), Glenn Murcutt: Spirit of Place (Catherine Hunter), James Hubbell – Between Heaven and Earth (Marianne Gerdes), and City Dreamers (Joseph Hillel). —R.W.


Greene Naftali: From the Archives

A four-course art feast awaits at the website of the stalwart New York gallery Greene Naftali. It is currently presenting Julie Becker’s classic video Federal Building with Music (2002); Tony Conrad and Cathleen Steffan’s storied Studio of the Streets (1990–93) television program, which they filmed in public in Buffalo once a week, interviewing locals; a recorded talk among Jacqueline Humphries, Rachel Harrison, and Charline von Heyl; and—last but not least—a bunch of materials related to playwright Richard Maxwell, who is also sharing a bevy of videos of performances by his New York City Players. Something for everyone! It amounts a rare chance to dive deeply into the kind of material that typically involves special appointments. —A.R.


Showgirls, Elizabeth Berkley, 1995. Courtesy Everett Collection.

Fondazione Prada x Mubi: Perfect Failures

Box-office flops, critical lambastings … almost every director has been there. Thankfully, streaming services have made it easy to re-evaluate the rejected deep cuts of yesteryear, to find diamonds in the rough. To that end, Fondazione Prada has teamed with the streaming service MUBI to launch Perfect Failures, a series that spotlights work considered by some to be career missteps, making the case that a film’s original reception need not be the final judge of its true artistic value. The series will stream titles such as the sci-fi thriller Southland Tales (2006), the erotic cult classic Showgirls (1995), and the environmentalist drama Night Moves (2013), among other happy disappointments. —R.W.


A still from Jonas Mekas’s Self-Portrait, 1980. Courtesy Anthology Film Archives.

Jonas Mekas Films (and Others) at Anthology Film Archives

Anthology Film Archives is closed until further notice, but the redoubtable East Village movie theater is making some of the films it planned to screen this month available to rent for a small fee. (Thank goodness, since much of what it shows simply cannot be found elsewhere.) Wonderfully, there are free streamed selections, too: a handful films by the late AFA founder Jonas Mekas, whose retrospective was set to begin at the institution last week. Among the offerings are his short Self-Portrait (1980) and a 2011 piece that shows the filmmaker performing songs with friends at a nightclub in Brooklyn. It has the perfect title for the present moment: Keep Singing—A.R.


Sarah Sze. Courtesy MacArthur Foundation.

Gagosian: Artist Spotlight

In mid-March, as Sarah Sze was preparing to unveil an exhibition at Gagosian in Paris, the city shut down due to coronavirus. Soon after, the gallery shuttered all of its outposts worldwide indefinitely, putting the work of Sze, Jennifer Guidi, Roe Ethridge and other artists behind locked doors. While much of the world strives to flatten the curve, Gagosian has debuted Artist Spotlight—an online platform that gives undivided attention to one artist every week through videos, interviews, and essays, as well as their own music playlists and book recommendations. Additionally, a single artwork by each is available for purchase in a 48-hour window. Up first is Sze, live through April 14, with a collaged painting that evokes the intricate bricolage of her sculptures. Editions will follow for Katharina Grosse, Theaster Gates, and Damien Hirst, as well as Guidi and Ethridge. —R.W.

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