As the reality of the global coronavirus pandemic continues to set in, more and more cultural institutions are closing their doors in an effort to help “flatten the curve” of infection. Many countries, including Italy, France, and China, have already instituted strict lockdown policies prohibiting residents from leaving their homes for non-essential movements, and the U.S. is starting to do the same. Officials in California issued a mandatory shelter-in-place order for the San Francisco Bay area on Monday, March 16, and other American cities will likely follow suit. While unquestionably beneficial for slowing the rate of infection, such moves leave the public with few ways to enjoy art and architecture.
Institutions across the country and globe are responding by making available online programming and architecture tours you can do from anywhere—yes, even your couch. Thanks to Google Arts & Culture, you can virtually visit the Corning Museum of Glass’s Contemporary Art + Design Wing in western New York, designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners (2015); the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Guggenheim Museum in New York City, which temporarily closed on March 13; or the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, designed by I.M. Pei and completed 2009.
Looking for fresh air? Digitally traverse the vast grounds of Tippet Rise Art Center in Montana, where you can see Francis Kéré–designed pavilion Xylem (2019), as well as three monumental works by Ensamble Studio: Domo, Beartooth Portal, and Inverted Portal.
For more fine art in artistic settings, explore Louis Kahn's Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut—which reopened in 2016 after a renovation by Knight Architecture—via mobile app. Tune into the YouTube channel of the Menil Collection in Houston for artist talks, lectures, and even an interview with architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, who designed the institution's new Drawing Institute. (Much of the Menil's collection is also available to peruse online.)
Check your favorite museum’s website or social media for updated online offerings during this time.
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