Every industry across the globe has had to quickly adapt to a digital future in 2020. And art is no different.
Instead of glitzy gallery openings, the digital landscape opens up a new frontier of creativity which we can enjoy from the comfort of our own homes.
From virtual viewings to augmented reality apps, here’s how the art world is using technology to adapt to our post-Covid world.
Now, this is really state-of-the-art…
Record breaking numbers of gallery visitors… virtually
Despite galleries closing to visitors in March 2020, those same art galleries experienced more visitors than ever before… to their websites. The Courtauld Gallery’s virtual tour received an unprecedented 723 per cent more weekly visitors during the first week of closings, and London’s National Gallery reported traffic to its own virtual tour rising by 1000 per cent. The appetite for virtual tours amongst art fans across the world has been unrivalled in 2020.
Virtual viewing rooms
With visitors unable to attend viewings in person due to the pandemic, most private galleries have introduced online viewing rooms: unique spaces online, like Ocula’s Online Viewing Room, and the New York-based Chambers Fine Art Gallery, where viewers across the globe can visit a website and view images in ultra high-resolution, in place of a physical exhibition. In fact, when Art Basel launched its Online Viewing Rooms this year, the site crashed due to overwhelming demand. Instead of walking closer to a work, online viewers can zoom in to expect it in great detail. These virtual exhibitions also mean that artists can provide accompanying multimedia detail, such as text commentary and caption. These virtual viewings also mean that exhibitions are reaching wider audiences than they ever would have with a physical space, attracting audiences from across the globe.
The art of the podcast
Unable to pontificate in person, appreciators are going digital to discuss art. The world-renowned contemporary David Zwirner Gallery, has long had an interest in going digital, having launched its online rooms in 2017, but has recently seen an increase in listeners to its podcast, Dialogues, now three seasons in. As Lucas Zwirner, head of content at the gallery said in an interview with The Guardian, “Online exhibitions can do things that brick-and-mortar exhibitions can’t… They can embed videos, longer excerpts of art-historically relevant material, and artist-created content.”
Galleries, artists and engineers are working on how we can use technology to not only experience art in new, virtual ways, but also how we can enjoy a more immersive viewing experience than ever before. Acute Art, available on the Apple App store and Google Play, is one such example: the app uses augmented reality to allow you to see art come to life, wherever you are. “The experience takes art out of the gallery, onto the streets, and into people’s hands – challenging conventions about what constitutes a suitable canvas for an artist’s vision,” explains the app’s site. Democratizing the art world, the app allows anyone with a smartphone to enjoy various artists’ work, wherever they may be in the world. Even if that’s just sitting at home on the couch.