Looking at art in the post pandemic world
I have curated and co-curated a few exhibitions myself on my journey towards becoming an artist, and as a result of the pandemic I have been thinking about the future of looking at art when the lockdown is over.
Of course it is now very easy to buy art online, and have done so myself, and have built up my aquaintance with the artist by following them on instagram and facebook. However I am thinking more about the experience of going to an exhibition and seeing art in a space.
I have lost count of the number of exhibitions that have been ruined by having too many people in the room at the same time. I do not like being pushed and jostled and have the feeling of someone peering down my neck while I am trying to look at an artwork. It is not very relaxing and means I cannot concentrate on the piece of art which is what the artist deserves when they have gone to the trouble of bringing their work to an exhibition with all the effort and costs that this involves.
So post lockdown inevitably there will be limits to people allowed in the room at the same time, and probably people will have to stand far apart. I can already see the upside of this. Instead of clutching your timed ticket and being herded into a room with a bunch of other anxious people…. then you will get the opportunity to go in alone ! To me this is very exciting…. like being given a ticket to enter a magical camera obscura and knowing that your time will be limited and then you will have to leave. No one will push you, no one will jostle you, and you will have space and time to look and to listen and to focus on the experience.
The whole activity of “visiting museums and art galleries” will be changed. It will become a conscious activity, rather than a backdrop to having a chat with your friend.
Of course I do not believe that the big institutions will take part in this trend. They will probably introduced timed tickets and have wardens hurrying people along at every point. But as curators and artists in small art spaces we have a great opportunity to allow people to take their time and to connect and engage in our art works whether they are visual or theatrical or a combination of both.
Most of the large art fairs and galleries all do things in a similar way. But for those of us who have not got wrapped up in their stale world, we now have permission do things differently.