Written by Rachel Kevern
See world-class art from your sofa with an online tour of these famous art galleries.
Who says you can’t admire an Andy Warhol print in your pyjamas, or a Tracey Emin installation over your morning coffee? These virtual tours mean that you can make the most of some of the best exhibitions from all over the world without leaving the comfort of your own home. Forget the queues and ticket prices and discover the highlights of the modern art scene from the UK all the way to Korea.
Art lovers don’t have to miss out on a dose of culture during the Coronavirus lockdown. Enjoy thousands of paintings, sculptures and installations right now via 360-degree virtual walking tours, guided “visits” with exhibition curators, and the chance to experience past exhibitions.
MoMA The Museum of Modern Art
MoMA opened its doors back in 1929, making it the very first museum devoted to the modern era. Located in Midtown Manhattan, New York, it is at the centre of the development and curation of modern art. Its huge collection contains a staggering 200,000 works of modern and contemporary art, of which more than 86,000 are currently available to view online.
Widely recognised as one of the most influential museums of modern art in the world, it’s no surprise that MoMA have been leading the way when it comes to adapting to our new situation. Not only can you experience the museum via Google’s Arts & Culture platform, but you can also explore several prominent exhibitions online through the MoMA website.
This month the museum launched Virtual Views, a new way to experience the MoMA galleries. Visit the website every week for brand new virtual tours with curators, including a fresh look at the life and art of Félix Fénéon and exclusive access to Donald Judd’s ground-breaking sculptures.
MMCA The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Four branches make up this museum: the main gallery in Gwacheon and separate sites in Deoksugung, Seoul and Cheongju. Founded in 1969, MMCA represents both the history and the progress of Korean contemporary art. Its collection contains the work of the rising stars of the Korean art world alongside internationally-acclaimed names such as Andy Warhol and Joseph Beuys.
The virtual tours cover an amazing range of material, including calligraphy, illustration, installation, sculpture, painting and photography. MMCA’s website now features an Online Art Museum where you can access exhibition commentary from curators, interviews with artists, online screenings of past events at the gallery and audio-guided tours. You can also even hear Yoom Bum-mo, the director of the museum, talking about some of his favourite paintings in the collection.
Through Google’s Arts & Culture platform, you can explore the museum and its grounds at your own speed with a virtual reality tour. Don’t forget to take a moment to appreciate the striking architecture of the museum’s main site, which takes inspiration from traditional Korean fortresses and covers an enormous 73,360㎡ over its three floors.
Britain’s national gallery of international modern art boasts a lot of big names, including Picasso, Carl Andre, Monet, and Rothko. Housed in the iconic Bankside Power Station building on the south side of the Thames, it was the most popular museum in the world in its first year, with over 5,000,000 visitors.
The Tate website includes many free online displays, including the Artist and Society tour that features artworks from the gallery’s collection that respond to their social and political context. Including many different rooms and recommended highlights, these online displays are a great way to get a better sense of how the Tate’s collection interacts with various themes. They also have numerous audio tours, which allow you to listen to artists, curators and conservators discuss key artwork in Tate Modern.
Other options of exploring the gallery’s collection include online-only live exhibitions, like this one of Faustin Linyekula’s performance in the Tanks, and a 360 interactive video tour around the Tate Modern’s Blavatnik Building. Warhol fans can access in-depth information about the innovative artist’s life and work in this guided video tour from Tate curators Gregor Muir and Fiontán Moran.
Musée d’Art Moderne
With over 15,000 works, Paris’s Museum of Modern Art features numerous major artistic movements of the 20th and 21st centuries. The museum is housed in the east wing of the imposing Palais de Tokyo and has been attracting hordes of visitors since it first opened at the start of the 1960s.
The permanent collection includes the likes of Picasso, Georges Braque, Marcel Duchamp, and Marc Chagall, as well as monumental murals by Henri Matisse. There is also a section on decorative art and furniture from the 1920s and 1930s. One of the gallery’s most striking features is the Dufy Hall, containing an enormous painting by Raoul Dufy that covers the walls of the room from floor to ceiling with beautiful bright colours.
You can browse the online archives here and go for a stroll around the galleries here. Take your pick from Cubism, Fauvism, New Realism, Post-Impressionism, or Abstract Art, or just scroll away and see what you discover.
The East Midlands may not be world-renowned as a cultural epicentre, but Nottingham Contemporary is one of the largest contemporary art institutions in the UK. Since opening in 2009, the gallery has welcomed more than two million visitors and presented over 50 exhibitions of international art. The Riba Award-winning purpose-built venue was designed by Caruso St John Architects and has been hailed as a gem of modern design.
Notable exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary include ‘States of America’ (2017), the largest-ever survey of American photography in the UK, and ‘The Place is Here’ (2017), a landmark display of Black British Art.
Thanks to the work of V21 Artspace, you can now take a virtual tour of many of the gallery’s past exhibitions. The “self-guided” walking tours are fully interactive and incredibly high-quality, transporting you from your sofa to the airy rooms of this iconic building. Check out ‘Still Undead: Popular Culture in Britain Beyond the Bauhaus’ for an exploration of how the Bauhaus school’s ideas lived on in British pop culture, or immerse yourself in the first-ever survey of the pioneering experimental filmmaker, Lis Rhodes.