Do you feel the loss? I sure do. Not only have very large galleries and museums shuttered their doors, but smaller galleries have also been forced to shutter their doors, cancel receptions and gallery exhibitions.
As most of you know I enter my work in a lot of national and international competitions. At the start of 2020 I entered competitions and was accepted into quite a few – but the pandemic has shut down the galleries, museums and art centers that were going to host these exhibitions. The solution? Have the exhibitions online. While this is not the same as seeing the actual work in person it is nice to be able to see all the work that got into the exhibition.
To date, all 2020 exhibitions featuring my artwork have been online. The pandemic is changing the norm in so many ways – it is interesting to wonder if this will impact gallery exhibitions and receptions in the future.
Many may continue to hold online exhibitions because they are cost effective while still promoting art within our culture and within the art business. You can argue that art exhibitions online can increase exposure – but what will be the impact on galleries and museums? Will those buildings become scarce and gather dust as reality changes?
I fear the essential experience of art – all art including music, dance, theater – will only be essential to the artist. I fear art will become cold, distant, disconnected. Scrolling through a collection with a swipe of the finger or click of the mouse can never compare to experiencing art in person, but online is a trend that already existed and is only being strengthened by the pandemic. I fear this trend will further push the loss of distinction between art and décor.
Might we lose the sensory experience of engaging with art? That indescribable experience of seeing it in person – getting lost in a work of art, spending time with the artist, talking about the art with other collectors.
We must not forget that, in the words of a dear friend of mine “part pervades human existence. People have felt the need to express themselves as least as far back as 60,000 years or so. To put that in perspective, civilization is about 10,000 years old and the species has been around for 300,000, as far as we know so far. Whether it is necessary or not, [art] is part of us”.