Even before they began to rapidly adapt to closing their physical spaces, more and more galleries were investing time and curatorial skill to create a compelling online presence. And as COVID-19 continues to trigger innovation, many have further embraced the digital sphere to engage with audiences and promote their artists. Some galleries have created a virtual environment where the viewer can ‘walk through’ a recreation of the physical gallery space, while others simply have a comprehensive collection of images from their shows. Here is just a small selection from the many galleries that are doing the online thing well.
The F Project
“It’s something we’d been experimenting with,” says Gareth Colliton, The F Project’s president, of the Warrnambool gallery’s fantastic virtual tour, “but now is definitely the time for implementation.”
The F Project is a fine example of a regional gallery that has adopted the virtual tour, powered by Matterport. Visitors can move through a recreation of the gallery’s actual physical space, inspect each scratch on the wooden floor, and even have a mooch around the gallery shop. Those with a virtual reality headset can feel like they are walking through the space.
The F Project’s virtual tour opens up this small gallery, tucked away in south-west Victoria, to an international audience that the gallery may not otherwise access.
Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery
The online presence of Perth-based Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery incorporates a number of modes of engaging with art. The gallery offers a virtual tour through its large rooms, but its expansive art coverage also extends to downloadable education kits, catalogues and media releases. Furthermore, the gallery also offers fascinating videos that document the installation of exhibitions, or indeed video works from the shows themselves. The gallery is notable for the diversity, thoroughness and thoughtfulness of its internet platform.
Hobart’s Colville Gallery stands out for the sheer scale of what it houses digitally. Visitors can browse works from exhibitions dating back to 2014, and in some cases beyond even that. The gallery supports its own artists well too, through extensive selections of images and texts.
Colville Gallery is also unique in that it offers a special page for collectors. In this intriguing section of their site, visitors can admire works for sale by the likes of Arthur Boyd, Max Beckmann, Max Dupain, William Dobell, John Olsen, Lloyd Rees and many others.
As well as featuring another virtual tour, Sydney gallery Nanda\Hobbs provides insightful introductions to exhibitions from art director Ralph Hobbs in the form of video (as for the recent Chen Ping show) or short essays.
The Chippendale gallery has further adapted to its closure by recently publishing a video guide to the art of the ‘salon hang,’ featuring Hobbs and gallery manager Anthony Hodgkinson. The website also offers downloadable e-books on starting an art collection, how the art market works, and how to invest in art. Nanda\Hobbs, therefore, is doing an admirable job in expanding their content beyond just the display of art, to include coverage of the business of art, curatorship and more.
Craft Victoria, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020, also allows website visitors to take a virtual tour of its gallery, but what really marks this institution out online is its Studio Stories series. Each story peeks behind the scenes at the studios of artists and designers, documenting their processes through video, text and images. New studio tours are released every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
Another important component of Craft Victoria’s online offering is its Crafternoon series, which provides downloadable instructions for various art projects for children – something for parents currently home-schooling, perhaps.
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery’s new Viewing Room will, the gallery says, be updated weekly. The first ‘show’ is a notable one: a selection of works from the Destiny Deacon retrospective DESTINY that was scheduled to open at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in late March.
Aside from the Viewing Room, Roslyn Oxley9’s website features detailed, and in most cases very beautiful, photo series from recent exhibitions.
Melbourne’s ARC ONE gallery offers a comprehensive selection of images from both current and past exhibitions, including close-ups of the works themselves and shots of works in the context of the gallery layout. ARC ONE’s sharp, minimalist website also serves the artists it represents well, with each given their own page, displaying a series of works.