With so much virtual content out there now, how can we curate the best? Kitty Dinshaw, Co-Founder and Co-Curator of Subject Matter Art, gives us 5 virtual art projects born in the time of coronavirus by women artists and curators.
It’s a sunny afternoon in London and we are working from home. This year, we have seen the art world evolve and change. Galleries where once you had to buzz for entry are now throwing open their (online) doors to the world. The night before the UK went into lockdown, Tate curators raced to the museum to film a tour of their new Andy Warhol exhibition. The immense outpouring of support and connection via #artistsupportpledge.
Nevertheless, true creatives still find a way to create, despite being deprived of their studio, their IRL community, and their usual inspirations. Lockdown has proven to be no obstacle to creativity; and it gives me so much pleasure to celebrate five exciting women-led projects, existing in a virtual space, but conceived at home.
1. Stay Home Gallery
Kaylan Buteyn, artist and creator of Artist/Mother Podcast, is full of incredible ideas and her latest genius curatorial project is the @stayhomegallery on Instagram, with artist/curator Pam Marlene Taylor. Described as “a platform [for womxn] to consider feminism and domesticity during a time of staying home”, each week hosts a different curatorial theme. Exhibitions are posted every Friday, and it is a joy to see so many talented artists in one place, including this work by Nora Howell.
2. How Can We Think of Art at a Time Like This?
Described by its curators, Barbara Pollack and Anne Verhallen, How Can We Think of Art at a Time Like This? is “an exhibition without walls.” The online platform is completely non-commercial, with no other agenda than to spark conversations and exchange ideas. Artists are being added every day, and visitors can post responses and join the conversation.
3. Milking the Quarantine
March 2020 was supposed to mark the publication date of the second edition of Milked Magazine; instead artist/curator Lee Nowell-Wilson found herself both creatively and literally stuck. Her response? To curate an ongoing Instagram exhibition of art made during the time of Covid-19 – the daily Stories are a treat! I might be biased, but I love this work by Subject Matter artist Nadia Nizamudin in particular. #milkingthequarantine
4. Art Girl Rising: Online Sessions
Art Girl Rising is Liezel Strauss’ other baby, and she’s been using this platform to advocate for underrepresented artists, especially women, since 2018. During lockdown, she has created a whole series of affordable online courses for artists, curators and collectors. Highlights include Kate Bryan (Head of Collections at Soho House) debating Will Women Artists Catch Up in My Lifetime? and an Art Road Trip with Canadian artist Marlene Lowden. For those who need some creative stimulation, there are also weekly Art + Chill sessions, over Zoom. (Art Girl Rising: Online Sessions).
5. Quarantzine: Stories from Quarantine
Edited by Gemma Suyat, Quarantzine is an online and print publication with a beautifully simple concept. Different people around the world — including a photographer in Kuwait, a retired couple in Argentina, and a coffee maker in Singapore — are asked the same set of questions about life in a time of coronavirus. The answers are unexpectedly moving, and the publication is a joy to look at too.
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Kitty Dinshaw is a curator based in London and the co-founder for Subject Matter Art.