With the promising news of a COVID vaccine on the horizon, we need to take care of our mental health more than ever, especially if we want to prepare for our collective comeback to post-pandemic life.
Experts agree that keeping the mind busy and occupied has an impact on how we feel, and nothing improves our daily outlook than gazing at something aesthetically pleasing—the sense of calm that comes from standing in front of an ancient sculpture or a striking piece of contemporary art.
During the first lockdown, many large museums around the world made their collections available online. We’re sure you’ve probably seen them all. Still, there are smaller galleries and museums around the world that offer free access to their exhibitions. Here are our picks for these lesser-known but no less worthy art spaces.
Greece currently requires all visitors to complete a Passenger Locator Form to enter the country but you don’t need any of that with a virtual visit to the Benaki Museum. Founded in Athens in 1930 by Antonis Benakis, a prominent member of the Greek diaspora, the museum’s aim was to inspire intercultural dialogue while celebrating Greek history and innovation. Although the museum is closed to physical visitors, a virtual tour allows guests to browse more than 40,000 items in its Greek and Islamic collection. Visitors get a 360-degree view of the works with audio clips in several languages.
While travelling to The Hague, The Netherlands, is out thanks to COVID protocols, the next best thing is exploring the Mauritshuis, a cosy museum that was established in the 18th century by Prince William V, online. While many visitors to Holland head for anything with the name Van Gogh attached, the Mauritshuis is home to Dutch Baroque works of which Vermeer’s “The Girl with the Pearl Earring” is the most famous.
Discover more than 200 Dutch and Flemish paintings via their free app, or click on the section “Mauritshuis at home” on the museum’s website to enjoy a guided tour of the facility by curator Geert-Jan Borgstein. The museum also offers online drawing, painting and photography workshops and other live streams.
Times are tough in the United States so a trip to Los Angeles is out of the question. While we are always California dreaming, we can escape to the City of Angels via the Internet. The Broad was founded in 2015 by philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad, and contains more than 2,000 works of contemporary art, many of which are on loan from other galleries and museums. Check out the museum’s site, specifically the section #thebroadfromhome, for talks by curators Ed Schad and Sarah Loyer and videos showcasing the exhibition “LA Intersections: Music, Language and Movement” and Clarissa Tossin’s “Light and Space,” which celebrates The Broad’s fifth anniversary. Families can also engage in workshops through The Broad’s social media channels.
Paris is on lockdown but that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy the Centre Pompidou. Designed by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in 1977, this massive glass and metal structure covered in colourful tubes is a mecca for contemporary art. Head to the centre’s website to listen to select podcasts about their collection of which Man Ray’s “Homard” and Charles Lapicque’s “Marine nationale” number. Online docents lead discussions on some of the museum’s most iconic pieces through the lens of consumerism, utopia and feminism. Or take a masterclass such as the one starting this month on female artistic creation.
New Mexico is not a museum hotbed but the city of Santa Fe has long been known as an artist colony. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum opened in 1997 to honour one of the most significant American artists of the 20th century. The downtown gallery space honours her devotion to Modernism and the American West through paintings, letters and photographs. Click on “O’Keeffe from Anywhere” for personal stories as well as a video tour of her home and the museum’s permanent collection. Our favourite feature? The live stream of the artist’s garden at her Abiquiú home, where you can literally watch the plants growing!