One thing we've missed most during the pandemic is access to museums, galleries, theatres and cultural centres. Many of these institutions have pivoted online – however, some have been more successful than others, and we've returned to them time and again for a bit of a culture fix when we're feeling especially devoid.
The experts at Quintessentially Art have especially loved the hundreds of artist talks made available by Miami's Pérez Art Museum. In conversation with curators, critics and educators, the discussions provide distinct insight into the artists' process and inspiration, sparking creativity. PAMM Director Franklin Sirmans' conversation with Julie Mehretu details the development of her abstract paintings and drawings throughout her career, uncovering her personal history.
PAMM's museum and staff members' profiles have helped foster a sense of community despite not being physically together – an ethos also engaged by The Artling, albeit in a different way. Technically a commerce site, they spotlight both new and established artists and designers and offer works for sale. However, their City Art Guides create a deep feeling of connection to the cities they've chosen to feature. Listing internationally renowned museums alongside tiny galleries, the in-depth guides not only give an overview of the art scene but, in turn, provide a feeling of the city as a whole.
The deep sense of wanderlust incited by a deep dive into The Artling's city guides, searching and discovering art amongst small streets in faraway corners of the world, could be quenched only by the dreamy escapism film provides. The BFI is host to thousands of titles, from feature films to historical documentaries, in their extensive archives. Over the past year, they've updated the BFI Player, offering more free movies and additional purchase options; the vivid and immersive films by Wong Kar-wai make us feel as if we're visiting a foreign and sometimes mythical land.
Some of the world's more traditional museums have developed unique online programming, too. The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has engaged its historical collection in an interactive and engaging way. Quintessentially Art has enjoyed Rijksmuseum Unlocked, a series of short videos that go deep into their collection, telling stories such as 'The role of cows in Dutch art' and 'The symbolic meanings of gardens.' They've also sorted their works of art topically (instead of just by artist or period), allowing visitors to the site to discover artists and pieces of which they might have been previously unaware.
Los Angeles' The Getty has put much effort and resource into its digital presence. They have created an editorialized view of their own collections and made available an incredible amount of research material and similar assets. A series of articles features artists' reflections on their work, analysis of the museum collection, historical thought pieces and cultural roundups of other happenings such as 75 years of Ebony Magazine photos, podcast reviews, and more.
In addition to visual art, we've greatly missed theatre and performance in all its iterations. Helping tide us over has been The Metropolitan Opera's nightly streams. Diving decades into their oeuvre, they have featured many unforgettable performances from their storied history. Each available for only 23 hours from one day to the next, it creates the feeling of attending a live performance – fleeting and special.
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