Online and In-Person Art Experiences
As the country reopens, the Coronavirus pandemic has created a new hybrid model for art experiences. Many art institutions in Tampa Bay have adopted a combination of in-person and online forms of exhibition. This hybrid model allows viewers to experience art safely during the pandemic.
The Dalí Museum is offering several online exhibitions and events. It’s also gearing up for an immersive in-person exhibition. The Dalí’s website has a section called Visit Virtually, where online visitors can view an extraordinary amount of content. High-resolution reproductions of Salvador Dalí’s artworks are available to view, lesson plans are here for teachers, and activities that help to understand and experience the artist’s works are downloadable.
The online version of the Dalí’s Midnight in Paris exhibition offers a thorough audio guide and feels very much like an academic survey. Most surprisingly, a free downloadable VR experience titled, “Dreams of Dalí” is available for at-home viewing on devices like the Oculus Rift – or as a 360º online video.
The Museum of Fine Arts has online programs that supplement its in-person exhibitions. MFA at Home is a great resource for activities for kids, with art-related puzzles and games inspired by the artworks in the MFA’s collection.
The museum also offers Spotify playlists created by the MFA staff, Wild Creations Digital Access, which is a collection of workshops about women artists, and a series of videos by the museum’s curators about the artworks in the collection.
The MFA is focusing its exhibitions as in-person experiences with supporting online events. Derrick Adams: Bouyant and Copper, Silver, Salt, Ink: The Chemistry of Photography’s Enduring Desires, both closing November 29, are viewable exclusively in the museum’s galleries.
For those unable to attend the museum in person, Derrick Adams will be in conversation with Celeste Davis, curator and programmer of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum on November 14 at 10:30 a.m. You can register for this free event on the MFA website.
The Galleries at Ringling College of Art and Design offer an online counterpart to each in-person exhibition. On View is a website dedicated to exhibiting current exhibitions including Sally Pettibon: Personal Geography and Illest of Illustration, which are both installed in the on-campus galleries and available to view by appointment.
For the performing arts, what was once a medium reliant on live, in-person performance is now negotiating with how much digital mediation can be utilized without completely abandoning its initial form. ‘What is a live concert if it’s streamed on Twitch?’ ‘Is it still theater if it’s distributed and viewed as a video?’ ‘Where is the fourth wall on a platform like Facebook Live that facilitates and encourages audience participation?’
Although temporary, the pivot to online streaming serves as an effective solution. One aspect of the medium of in-person performance that’s maintained while streamed online is its appearance of immediacy – the fact that what’s being experienced is contemporaneously shared by all viewers isn’t lost over Zoom.
Some examples of how local musicians, musical venues and music institutions have adopted the hybrid model include Infinite Third’s Twitch concerts, DTSP Live’s Saved by Streaming series and Gasparilla Music Festival‘s Sparkman Wharf series.
Since the early days of the pandemic, American Stage Theatre Company pivoted to online programming. The company’s offerings include Letters to Kamala, Kate – The Unexamined Life of Katharine Hepburn and Nosotros La Gente (We The People), all exclusively online.
Creative Pinellas is hosting the Arts Annual Virtual Festival, which has an in-person component, an online exhibition and a scheduled, live online experience. Starting November 12, The Creative Pinellas Gallery will house artworks by two-dozen local artists in a variety of media. Those artworks will also be available online.
The Arts Annual Virtual Festival kicks off on Sunday, November 15 at 4 p.m. with live-streamed dance, musical and theatrical performances.
Depending on how long the pandemic lasts, the hybrid model may be emblematic of a new paradigm for experiencing works of art. When the pandemic abates, it’ll be interesting to see which aspects of it persist in the art world.
What could be ahead is a Neo-Fluxus form of art that makes no fundamental distinction between traditional and digital media. Until then, viewers can continue to experience art both in-person and online.