KATHLEEN BONDAR CONSIDERS WHAT THE ARTS ARE DOING TO ENGAGE AUDIENCES IN ISOLATION AND WHAT'S ON OFFER?
Can the cultural sector save audiences from endless, upspeak comedies on Netflicks and Nordic Noir copycatting on iplayer now arts venues and cinemas are closed across the city? Apparently, it can. The arts sector in London is going online and so must its audiences.
Cultural cinemas with a film distribution arm like Curzon Artificial Eye and the British Film Institute are focussing on their online outfits, Curzon Home Cinema and BFI Player respectively. Of course, cinema has an easy fit with the small screen with most films broadcast or reaching audiences online eventually.
Theatres, opera houses, concert halls and dance venues are uploading more plays and performances online. Audiences are used to "event cinema" at multiplexes and arts venues. Now full plays and performances are coming to a laptop near you.
Galleries are also promoting various ways to view exhibitions on their websites. Flagship galleries and off-centre spaces are familiar with posting virtual tours, videos, podcasts and articles.
What's on offer during the lockdown can be a bit hit and miss. Whilst flagship organisations with impressive digital marketing teams are stepping up to the mark, others are, understandably, reeling. Now's time to cast a wide net across film, theatre and exhibition to find what's on offer for the self-isolated. Below are some findings which will be updated regularly. The good news is, there's plenty to view for free.
THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS
Spearheaded by its first woman president Rebecca Salter, the RA is posting an “Artists in Isolation” series of written features. Royal Academician, Stephen Farthing’s piece on working in isolation in Jordan is wonderfully enlightening although he doesn’t elaborate on his project and why he is there (love to know).
The Royal Academy has come up with several digital options for audiences from light-hearted activities like the #RAdailydoodle on Twitter (just tweet your drawing or painting of that day’s suggestion e.g. “a bluebell”) to a virtual video tour of the flagship exhibition LEON SPILLIAERT and videos of this year’s PICASSO AND PAPER (reviewed in CAPITAL REVIEWER).
Above: Pablo Picasso, ‘Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe’ after Manet, I, Mougins, 1962
Other videos to be found include a documentary on PHYLLIDA BARLOW (reviewed CAPITAL REVIEWER) and a short 60 second piece on the postponed GAUGUIN AND THE IMPRESSIONISTS (fascinating facts, he was formerly a stockbroker and, alarmingly, he secured three child brides in Tahiti).
Right: Phyllida Barlow, untitled: pressed, 2018
ESTORICK COLLECTION OF MODERN ITALIAN ART, ISLINGTON N1
Tullio Crali: Tricolour Wings, 1932 (Ali tricolori); The Forces of the Bend, 1930 (Le forze della curva); Assault of Motors, 1968 (Assalto di motori)
Reviewed already in CAPITAL REVIEWER is the remarkable TULLIO CRALI: A FUTURIST LIFE which opened prior to lockdown and would have run until mid April at the Estorick. Fortunately, the curators have recorded snippets to accompany the exhibition which is online now and into May at https://www.estorickcollection.com/exhibitions/tullio-crali-a-futurist-life .
GALLERIES NOW (GalleriesNow)
Cut to the chase with the website host GalleriesNow and scroll through dozens of galleries worldwide with links to what they’re doing during lockdown, including slick virtual tours and smart presentations. GalleriesNow "is dedicated to promoting the world’s leading galleries, art museums, foundations and auction houses". These galleries are certainly the "leading" type and include public spaces such as the Serpentine Galleries www.serpentinegalleries.org and private art dealers like Cristea Roberts in Mayfair https://cristearoberts.com. Whether you can afford to purchase anything is one thing, but looking is free. https://www.galleriesnow.net/coronavirus-updates/
BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE
Here's a chance to switch from being in the audience to making a film. A medley of film organisations - Encounters Film Festival, BFI NETWORK and Watershed as part of Depict short film competition 2020 - have devised #shortitout home film making competition. The idea is anyone can try DIY film making (using a mobile comes to mind) submit a 90 second short film online. Submission is free. Deadline 4 June. Some great prizes, apparently.
Previous Depict winners share their advice on how to make a short film and Jack from Rife magazine offers Smartphone Filmmaking Masterclasses.
HAMPSTEAD THEATRE AT HOME
Each week beginning on a Monday, Hampstead Theatre are streaming a play in their canon of recorded works. Showing between 27 APR - 3 MAY 2020 #AIWW: THE ARREST OF AI WEIWEI about the arrest of the Chinese artist at Beijing Airport. Directed by Howard Brenton and based on Weiwei's account in a book by Barnagy Martin, "Hanging Man".
TO BE CONTINUED