Andy Warhol, Flowers (1964) Private collection © 2020 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by DACS, London

The Best Virtual Exhibitions

Although its not quite the same as standing in front of an all-encompassing artwork, lockdown has encouraged galleries and museums to transform their offering, taking exhibitions into the virtual sphere. For some institutions like the Courtauld this is timely: since closing for restoration in 2018 they’ve been slowly making their collection accessible via their website. For others it’s new, and it’s been wonderful to see an influx of smaller galleries working hard to showcase their exhibitions online. This has even brought about new collaborations such as Platform, that brings smaller contemporary galleries together for the first time. Here’s our edit of the most exciting displays available to view right now, with the tap of a finger:

SOLO SHOWS

Sims Reed Gallery, Chihuly Solo Exhibition (until July 2020)

Sims Reed have made an amazing 3D virtual model of their St James’s gallery space for this show. Beautifully curated, American artist Dale Chihuly presents prints and original works on paper. His work has been notable for his glass installations and his drawing presented are studies for these. When Chihuly lost half of his eyesight in the 1970s these sketches were integral for his team to communicate his ideas.

Cob Gallery, Escape Fantasy: Frances Waite (17 April – 18 May 2020)

This cutting edge, contemporary gallery presents a group of original works on paper by American artist Frances Waite. Famous for her graphite drawing, she explores truth and reality through her very photorealistic approach to subject matter. Her sometimes graphic images aim to re-appropriate the voyeurism of art history. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cob Gallery, Frances Waite, Love U Baby, 279 x 229 mm on paper, 2019, Cob Gallery, London

Sid Motion Gallery, Joseph Goody, How Distant (23 April – 6 June 2020) 

Sid Motion contemporary art gallery based in London virtually presents a new body of work by Joseph Goody. The show’s title derives from the Philip Larkin poem, How Distant, with the artist continually asking the question – ‘how distant is this, formally, spatially or tonally, from what?’ We find these systematic, ordered compositions calming.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sid Motion Gallery, Joseph Goody, Installation View, 2020, Sid Motion Gallery, London

GROUP SHOWS

David Zwirner, Platform: London (April – May 2020)

David Zwirner was one of the first Blue Chip galleries within the pandemic to develop virtual viewing rooms. Platform brings together twelve London galleries like Emalin, Herald St and Soft Opening, and each presents a work by an artist from their rostra. Many of the artist’s had shows cancelled due to the pandemic, so it gives them a platform to showcase their work in a new and exciting way. 

Gina Fischli, House
2018. Glitter, glue, plywood, 47 x 43 cm. Photography Theo Christelis, courtesy the artist and Soft Opening, London.

Timothy Taylor, Dwelling Is the Light (15 April – May 2020)

This exciting show is hosted by Timothy Taylor and curated by Katy Hessel from The Great Women Artists Instagram. The exhibition, inspired by the global lockdown we are facing, presents a group of female artists who address attitudes to domestic life and nature in current times. Katy has fluently mixed together artists who are up-and-coming like Antonia Showering with renowned artists like Kiki Smith. 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Timothy Taylor, Kiki Smith, Harbour, 2015, Cotton Jacquard tapestry, 295 x 192 cm, Timothy Taylor Gallery London

BLUE CHIP GALLERY SHOWS

Sadie Coles, Honey Pie, Sarah Lucas (March – May 2020) 

Sarah Lucas showcases her latest body of work at her long-standing gallery, Sadie Coles. Check out the video walk-through to see Lucass weird and wonderful soft sculptures. These works provoke images of female nudes in states of vulnerability. You can also see a screening of a film by Sarah Lucas and art critic Louisa Buck called Taped Up made in 2019 that was filmed in the run up to Lucass show at the Venice Art Biennale. 

Credit: © Sarah Lucas, HONEY PIE Installation View, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London. Photo: Robert Glowacki 

Gagosian, ‘Gemini, Jennifer Guidi’  (28 February – 30 May 2020) 

A highlight amongst Gagosian’s online shows is American artist Jennifer Guidis, Gemini. The work displayed shows the artist’s ability to evoke metaphysical themes that transcend Western traditions through painted acrylic compositions. The installation video gives an insight to how the show would have been presented if seeing it at the gallery space.   

Photo Credit: JENNIFER GUIDI To Protect and Hold You Up, 2019, Sand, acrylic, and oil on linen, Overall: 89 3/4 x 53 1/2 inches, Circle: 24 inch diameter, Snakes: 66 x 23 inches (each). © Jennifer Guidi. Photo: Brica Wilcox. Courtesy Gagosian

SMALL COMMERCIAL GALLERY SHOWS

Lyndsey Ingram, David Hockney (From 27 April 2020)

The London-based gallery present David Hockneys beautiful prints ranging from his pool-side images to still life’s and portraits. His Californian works especially make us wish for quarantine to be over so we can get going on a summer holiday. Whilst you are there, check out the husband-and-wife Georgie Hopton and Gary Hume exhibition that was the gallery’s previous show.   

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lyndsey Ingram gallery, Installation view of ‘Lithograph of Water Made of Lines, a Green Wash and a Light Blue Wash’ Lithograph printed in colours, 1978-80, 66 x 87.6 cm, Lyndsey Ingram  London 

ALMA ZEVI and Violet Dennison (from May 2020)

ALMA ZEVI, a contemporary art gallery based in Venice and with outposts in London and the Swiss Alps, is organising an online exhibition presenting Violet Dennison, the NYC-based multimedia artist. This exhibition is in collaboration with several other European galleries, all of which are showing young international artists with works encompassing painting, photography, drawing, sculpture and video. The gallery is also presenting a wonderfully unique edition of 15 paintings by artist David Murphy to benefit the British Red Cross.

Photo credit: Courtesy of ALMA ZEVI, Control, 2020, Polyurethane, aluminum, acrylic and cipher, 122 x 60 x 7.5 cm, ALMA ZEVI 

Ben Hunter Gallery, Terrcotta: Offsite exhibition in collaboration with Blue Projects (1 March – 31 July 2020) 

This beautiful exhibition by Ben Hunter Gallery and Blue Projects presents a group of artworks that explore the medium of terracotta that has been used from ancient civilisation to modern and contemporary art. The pair of terracotta hares from the Han dynasty are especially eye-catching. Watch out for the Ben Hunter in the Frieze New York viewing room where the gallery shows paintings by Christopher Page alongside Offer Waterman Gallery. 

Photo credit: Courtesy of Ben Hunter Gallery, A Pair of Terracotta Hares, Han dynasty, 206 BC – 220 AD, 43/4 x 61/4 x 3 in, Ben Hunter Gallery London and Blue Projects

MUSEUM SHOWS

Tate Modern, Andy Warhol (12 March – 6 September 2020) 

Tate have made all their current exhibitions virtual, including the latest Andy Warhol show that features his famous Coca-Cola and Campbells soup cans as well as an iconic room with silver balloons. You can watch the exhibition tour via the website and read a description of each room. Also be sure to watch Alastair Sookes Museum in Quarantine series on the BBC – especially the Warhol episode where the art historian gets access to the Tate to have a last peek at the exhibition before lock down. 

Andy Warhol, Green Coca-Cola Bottles
(1962) Whitney Museum of American Art, New York © 2020 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by DACS, Lo

National Portrait Gallery Bright Young Things (12 March – 7 June 2020)  

If you are like me who missed the Cecil Beaton show at the NPG, I recommend filling this void with their curator films. Perfect to watch on a WFH lunch break to escape into Beatons glamorous and artistic world of the 1920/30s.  

The Bright Young Things at Wilsford by Cecil Beaton, 1927. © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive

For more art in quarantine check out the Courtauld’s online gallery tour with Bill Nighy. Philip Mould is running a video series on art in his home in isolation, a particular favourite is on painter Jan Buchanan. We’ve enjoyed two artist documentaries on the BBC recently: Lee Miller, A Life on the Front Line and Becoming Matisse with his great-granddaughter, Sophie. And also look out for Frieze New York viewing rooms and what galleries are curating virtually for the renowned art fair. 

Written for A Little Bird by Domenica Marland, an art dealer who specialises in affordable and decorative works by contemporary artists as well as sourced art through her online shop.  

— A Little Bird
6th May 2020