Take a virtual tour through Toronto galleries and museums
Written by Camões Radio on May 4, 2020
Just because everything’s closed doesn’t mean you can’t explore art, entertain kids and stream sold-out events from the past.
All the world’s galleries and museums are closed because of COVID-19, of course, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring some visual art into your self-isolation.
Here’s a look at what some Toronto-area galleries are doing. Follow the hashtag #MuseumFromHome to see the range of offerings from around the world.
Art Gallery of Ontario
AGO From Home brings the gallery experience to you virtually. Highlights of all its various collections are available to peruse, with the zoom function allowing you to focus in on fine details of a work. There are also interesting essays, including one on how artist David Milne used seclusion and isolation as a means to self-discovery, that are especially fitting for the time. An archive of gallery talks and lectures contains some great content, including features with Peaches, Naomi Klein and (most recently) Desmond Cole.
Royal Ontario Museum
The ROM is promoting that it has 46,699 objects for viewing online – with a handy search engine for whatever you’re looking for (the word “dinosaur,” for instance, brings up 125 results) – and more are being added. The museum gets bonus points because its staff donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline medical workers during the crisis.
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Megan Rooney's "Tilia Americana" (2014) is the next artwork on MOCA's #ShiftKey platform, available to watch online for free from today through April 17. . Incorporating elements of drawing, sculpture and performance, the video features women obscured by painted pillow cases in different suburban situations set alongside an audio track of the artist reading a dreamlike prose poem. . Thank you to @megankellyrooney for sharing this work. . Shift Key is a rotating social platform of new media and film artworks. 📺 See link in our bio to watch. #ShiftKey #MeganRooney #tiliaamericana
Museum of Contemporary Art
If you haven’t visited MOCA in the year-and-a-half it’s been open, try the site, which includes archives of videos and events. There’s also an exciting series called Shift Key, an online platform that highlights art that works very well in this medium, drawing on video, telecommunications, gaming and other emerging technologies.
The Power Plant
One of the premiere galleries of contemporary art for more than three decades, the Power Plant has a rich archive chronicling past exhibits, with hours of material in its Switch On hub for original writing, video and other content related to the gallery’s programming. Especially cool is its section of virtual tours of past shows, all of which make you feel like you’re walking around the actual space.
CONTACT Photography Festival
Normally at this time, we’d be gearing up for May’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. Because of COVID-19, many artists have agreed to reschedule their exhibits for later in the year. But the festival is using its site to give you background details on some of this year’s offerings, including exhibits by Persijn Broersen & Margit Lukács, Evelyn Bencicova, Hannah Somers, Lucy Alguire and others. More content will be added this month and throughout May.
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How are you staying creative at home? Get inspired by the story of three poets in this folio from the Shanameh (Book of Kings) The painting of Firdausi and the three poets of Ghazna depicts an encounter that occurred before Firdausi reached Sultan Mahmud’s court. One of the sultan’s leading poets, ‘Unsuri, had invited two others, Farrukhi and Asjadi, to join him in celebrating his success in a poetry competition at a garden outside Ghazna. While they sat enjoying themselves, Firdausi entered the garden where he hoped to join the party. Curious about other objects in our Museum Collection? Head to our #MuseumWithoutWalls to explore hundreds of artifacts and artworks. FIRDAUSI AND THE THREE POETS OF GHAZNA FOLIO FROM THE SHAHNAMEH (BOOK OF KINGS) OF SHAH TAHMASP Attributed to Aqa Mirak Iran, Tabriz 47 x 31.8 cm ca. 1532 Materials and Technique:Opaque watercolour, gold, silver, ink, paper
Aga Khan Museum
The site includes collection tours, artist talks and videos, and you can even print out a PDF for kids to colour in a scene from an artifact from 16th-century Iran. But the coolest way to feel like you’re in the building itself is to take a 3D of its Our Sustainable Future exhibit featuring photographs by 20 newcomer youth in Toronto. There’s also a link to blog entries by the student photographers.
Storefront Gallery at Arts Etobicoke
Chances are you haven’t visited the Storefront Gallery at Arts Etobicoke, but the west-end venue presents 10 exhibits a year. One of the coolest features of their website is the section on curating your own exhibit, where you can select images from the recent juried show Shifting Environs, give the show a title, write a curatorial statement and submit it to the online gallery. And it’s got a section on arts in isolation, with info about free online art classes and cultural experiences.