Art in the Time of the Pandemic

Due to the coronavirus, many galleries and museums around the world have shut to the public and are, instead, presenting their exhibitions or artists’ videos online. Here is a selection to explore.

Richard Wentworth: O Sole Mio

Inspired by the universal warmth and positive message of the song, Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art invited artists to contribute to a virtual exhibition by making or writing a work in response to the concept, meaning and associations connected to the iconic lyrics and melody of O Sole Mio – what it represents to them, the memories it evokes and/or how we might understand it within the context of our time. To accompany his contribution to the online exhibition and digital publication, Richard Wentworth created this video for Studio International. Other artists participating include Ryan Gander, David Claerbout, Christine Rebet, Sonja Braas, Jakub Julian Ziółkowski and Koushna Navabi.

Parasol unit - O Sole Mio

Watch also Studio International's interviews with Ryan Gander (British Art Show 8, 2015) and Christine Rebet (Parasol unit, 2020).

Ryan Gander interview

Christine Rebet interview

Oren Pinhassi | Edel Assanti

In the latest edition of Home Fires, from his studio in New York, “Pinhassi speaks about his recent work Stalls (2020). As with many of his works, Stalls collapses traditional notions of architecture, nature and the body, invoking both public and private space commonly associated with the social relations of the corporeal”.

Kristján Guðmundsson, Mostly Drawings, May 2020

Video walkthrough of the exhibition at i8 Gallery, Reykjavik, Iceland. More information about Guðmundsson and the works can be found here

Robert Fitzmaurice | The impact of Covid-19 on artists

Speaking from his home in Reading, England artist Robert Fitzmaurice describes his creative life under lockdown.

Read also Anna McNay’s interview with Fitzmaurice. The artist talks about the work in his latest show, now postponed, his interests and influences – and how he is coping with lockdown.

Helen Cammock interview

COVIDecameron: 19 artists from the MOMENTUM Collection

Online exhibition of video art marking MOMENTUM’s 10th Anniversary

“Addressing the viral times we live in, COVIDecameron takes its title from Boccaccio’s literary classic, The Decameron. We follow in this author’s fabled footsteps, whose storytellers flee the plague in Florence; escaping the dangers of disease in the city, they retreat to the countryside to regale each other with tales of their times. Escaping from the world at large, they instead bring the outside world to life in seclusion through the artistry of their storytelling.” Artists: Shaarbek Amankul, Stefano Cagol, Nezaket Ekici, Thomas Eller, Theo Eshetu, Doug Fishbone, Mariana Hahn, Gülsün Karamustafa, David Krippendorff, Janet Laurence, Map Office, Kate McMillan, Tracey Moffatt & Gary Hillberg, Anxiong Qiu, Nina E. Schönefeld, Varvara Shavrova, Sumugan Sivanesan, Mariana Vassileva, Shingo Yoshida.

Melissa McGill: Red Regatta, 2019

Mazzoleni’s digital project: #MAZZOLENIBRUNCH

Melissa McGill: “As the sails glide through the lagoon in unison, the distinct reds will visually mix, join, and blend, reflecting in its waters. Against the contrasting sky and sea, the reds reference the forces of life and passion, of alarm and urgency, and Venice itself – from its bricks and terra cotta rooftops, to its flag and history of trade in red pigment, to paintings by Titian, Tintoretto, and other Venetian masters.” For more information about this project go to Mazzoleni’s Facebook page.

Francesco Clemente: Beauty Without Witness, April 2020

Lévy Gorvy’s online viewing room

This online exhibition features twelve watercolours painted by Clemente at his New York home during this time of self-isolation.

Ana Prvacki: At The Tips Of Your Fingertips (towards a clean money culture), 2007

All at Once, Fridman Gallery’s first online exhibition.

Ana Prvacki’s very apposite video is part of All at Once, curated by Regine Basha, featuring images, sound, video and performance from artists such as Julie Mehretu, McArthur Binion, Milford Graves, Cauleen Smith, Nate Lewis, Aura Satz, Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Public Assembly.

Kara Walker: ‘My work always unsettles me … if it doesn't unsettle me, then it’s not right’

Studio International archive, 2013. At the opening of Kara Walker's first UK exhibition at Camden Arts Centre, Anna McNay spoke to her about her work, which is a dark and, at times, sinister, exploration of race, gender, sexuality and violence in American history and society.

Mariko Mori

Hirshhorn Artist Diaries. 100 artists have been asked to make a series of short video diaries to become part of the Hirshhorn’s record of the effects of the global pandemic on artists, their art-making practices and their views of the world.

Read also Anna McNay’s interview with Mariko Mori from the Studio International archive, 2016. The artist talks about her mission to place site-specific artworks honouring nature on the six habitable continents, and her involvement with the cultural programme of the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Mariko Mori

Sylvie Fleury: She-Devils on Wheels

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Marais. To coincide with the reopening on 12 May of Sylvie Fleury's exhibition She-Devils on Wheels the gallery are sharing the video of her 1998 performance Between My Legs.

John Newling: Dear Nature

Ikon Gallery video walkthrough

If only a magic wand could be waved to solve the world’s ecological problems. John Newling has an abundance of them, bundled up on plinths in his solo exhibition at Birmingham’s Ikon Gallery. Made from sticks collected by the artist on his daily walks near his Nottingham home, the black and white wands are joined by other objects: leaf fossils reminding us of vast geological periods, and feather quills speaking to the comparatively recent emergence of human culture. Read David Trigg’s review of the exhibition:

John Newling

Pulse of the Dragon

Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre | 3D Virtual Tour. Yin Cao, curator of Chinese art, Art Gallery of New South Wales: “Art can encourage compassion, fellow feeling and cross-cultural understanding. Such understanding is especially important in the moment of Covid-19, when many Australians of Chinese heritage have experienced unkindness and abuse”. Pulse of the Dragon features ten contemporary Chinese and Chinese-Australian artists, including Guan Wei (also currently on the walls of the closed Art Gallery of NSW in the exhibition In one drop of water), Cang Xin, Jin Sha and Yang Xifa, who responded to five elements of Chinese tradition: religious witchcraft, mythology, folk art, folk culture and the literati spirit.

See also the Together in Art, Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Together in Art

The Botanical Mind Online

Camden Art Centre. Originally planned as a group exhibition, this new online project has been developed in response to the Covid-19 crisis and the closure of the galleries due to the pandemic. It investigates the importance of the plant kingdom to human culture, science and spirituality and features new digital commissions and online works by Adam Chodzko, Tamara Henderson, Ghislaine Leung, James Richards and Steve Reinke, Joachim Koester, Gemma Anderson and Kerstin Brätsch. Curated by Gina Buenfeld and Martin Clark, film by Antonio Rui Ribero. Read more about this project on the Camden Art Centre website.

Helen Cammock: They Call It Idlewild

Turner-Prize-winning artist Helen Cammock talks about her new film and text work created during her residency at Wysing Arts Centre.

Read also David Trigg’s interview with Cammock. “Creativity requires a space of idleness, of being still”

Helen Cammock interview

Christopher Le Brun: Figure and Play

Albertz Benda, New York, online launch. For the online presentation, Le Brun has made short films about each painting which can be viewed on the show's webpage. Read also, from the Studio International archive, Jill Spalding’s interview with Le Brun in New York, 2014

Christopher le Brun



Lisson Gallery W 24th St, New York. Virtual tour of Richard Long’s first exhibition at Lisson’s New York gallery.

Watch also, from the Studio International archive, Kate Brindley talking to Anna McNay about Long's exhibition Time and Space at Arnolfini, Bristol, during the city’s 2015 European Green Capital celebrations.

Time and Space at Arnolfini, Bristol

The surreal fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli

Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Sonnet Stanfill, Senior Curator of Fashion and Textiles, takes a closer look at some of Schiaparelli's most iconic garments, including the Shoe hat and Skeleton dress, created in collaboration with Salvador Dali.

Read also a Cindi di Marzo's review of Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations, Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute, New York from the Studio International archive, 2012.

Artist Profile: Lin Tianmiao

Short video interviews with contemporary artists whose works have featured in exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. View more on the Guggenheim YouTube channel

Watch also a video tour of Lin Tianmiao’s Beijing studio from the Studio International archive, 2015.

Cao Fei: Blueprint

Virtual tour of Cao Fei’s exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London

Cao’s first large-scale UK exhibition is a fantastical exploration of utopian and dystopian worlds, a collision of the real and the virtual, and a meditation on technological progress. Read David Trigg’s review.

Ragnar Kjartansson

Recorded April 10, 2020 in Reykjavík

Hirshhorn Artist Diaries. 100 artists have been asked to make a series of short video diaries to become part of the Hirshhorn’s record of the effects of the global pandemic on artists, their art-making practices and their views of the world.

Watch also the video diaries of Theaster Gates, Shirin Neshat and Tony Ousler.

Léon Spilliaert

Virtual tour of Léon Spilliaert at the Royal Academy of Arts, London

Read also Joe Lloyd’s review of the exhibition. “Ostend’s master draughtsman oscillates between retreat and escape, nocturnal and diurnal, imbuing the everyday with an eeriness.”

Tomás Saraceno – Particular Matter(s)

Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
Tomás Saraceno talks about Particular Matter(s). With Saraceno’s solo show Aria temporarily closed at Palazzo Strozzi, he is turning to online platforms to give a greater insight to particular artworks.

And read Veronica Simpson’s review of Tomás Saraceno: Aria. “Saraceno’s utopian visions for a future without fossil fuel or boundaries – and his admiration for spider technology - make for a compelling show.”

Marcia Hafif with John Silvis

Galerie Hubert Winter
Watch one of Hafif’s last interviews at her studio in Laguna Beach, 2017.

And view a virtual tour of the exhibition.

Together With Them She Went

Alice Walton with Anna Lucas
Exhibition online at Tintype, London.

Among the Trees

“One of the great joys of walking in a forest, is you give up any attempt to analyse it... you just enjoy the act of looking.”
A virtual tour of Among the Trees at Hayward Gallery with Director Ralph Rugoff.

Barbican Watchlist

Curators' Picks – Short Films

Kirsten Lepore, Hi Stranger, 2017. Animation, 2 mins.

Miguel Fernándes de Castro: Grammar of Gates (Gramática de las puertas), 2019

Whitechapel Gallery YouTube Channel

Temporarily closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic the gallery are featuring online screenings of film, video and animation as part of their Artists’ Film International series.

Gerhard Richter: Painting After All

Video tour of his exhibition at The Met Breuer

See also the feature-length documentary Gerhard Richter Painting, filmed mostly at his studio in Cologne

The Making of Liza Lou’s Kitchen

Whitney Museum of American Art

The artist talks about the making of her installation Kitchen, a tribute to the unsung labour of women throughout time. Created over the course of five years Kitchen presents a full-scale, exactingly detailed room encrusted with individually applied glass beads.

Transparent Things

Video walkthrough of this group exhibition at Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art narrated by curator Natasha Hoare. Transparent Things uses Chapter 1 of Vladimir Nabokov’s novel as a script. In this brief text objects exert uncanny agency, pulling us back anecdotally and materially into their past, and catalysing radical perceptual shifts. This 'script' lends itself to an exploration of contemporary sculpture.

Aubrey Beardsley at Tate Britain

Exhibition Tour | Tate
Tate curators Caroline Corbeau-Parsons and Alice Insley discuss the iconic illustrator's short and scandalous career. Read also Beth Williamson's review of the exibition and A New Illustrator – Aubrey Beardsley, published in the very first issue of The Studio magazine in 1893.

Salvador Dali Home Movie (1954)

Dali made this short 16mm film on the terrace of his villa in Port Lligat, Costa Brava, Spain and is one of nine films from MoMA’s Private Lives Public Spaces exhibition made available online

William Tillyer: The Golden Striker

“What else is there to do but work. I’ve had no problem ever finding things to do, and the thing that motivates me is painting”.

This documentary film follows British artist William Tillyer as he prepares new paintings for a series of major 80th birthday exhibitions held at Bernard Jacobson Gallery in 2018 and works on a number of collaborative projects.
A Film by Mark James.
Exclusive Online Screening (Work in Progress), for a limited period only.

Donna Huanca: Wet Slit

Simon Lee Gallery
Video walkthrough of the exhibition.

Read also Alexander Glover's 2016 interview with Donna Huanca.
“Memory is perhaps the most permanent architecture”. The Chicago-born artist discusses shedding skin, the idea of permanence, and being involved in Manifesta 11.

Andy Warhol at Tate Modern – Exhibition Tour | Tate

Curator-led video tour, filmed before Tate Modern closed.

There is a great deal of death in this exhibition but, ultimately, it is an overwhelming lust for life that permeates every room.
Read also Beth Williamson’s review of this exhibition

A personal message …

Portrait artist Patricia Guzmán shares her thoughts and fears concerning the Covid-19 pandemic from her home in Mexico City.

“I never imagined that one of my anxieties would be to feel fear once I stepped out of my door, to go out to the street, and be close to my fellow human beings.”

Helen Kirwan: perpetuum mobile

perpetuum mobile is an immersive three-screen video installation showing Kirwan’s live performances in the ancient cedar forests of Lebanon and on the Ustyurt plateau and Aral Sea regions of Uzbekistan. These were synthesised with her performances under water and other imagery to create an immersive montage of fragmented, interwoven images as a metaphorical meditation on memory and memorial. The soundscape was composed by Tom Lane with whom Kirwan has had a long-standing collaboration.

A personal message …

Brooklyn-based artist Anita Glesta sends a video message from her temporary studio in upstate New York. "I am reading about, and working on, what it means when a foreign substance … enters the body, and the fragility of being human"

View also Glesta’s The WATERSHED Project at the National Theatre, London 2015 and Navigating Memory, the Universe and Nothing, Studio International 2013.

Annegret Soltau: Spider

Richard Saltoun Gallery

An online 360 walkthrough of Soltau’s first solo show with the gallery, re-staging works from her early years in post-war Darmstadt, Germany.

The Spark Is You: Venice + London

Parasol unit foundation for contemporary art

Two group exhibitions of works by contemporary Iranian artists held concurrently at the 58th Venice Biennale and London in 2019.

Daniel Arsham: Paris, 3020

Perrotin #Unlocked

In this video Daniel Arsham talks about the making of Paris, 3020.

Read also Joe Lloyd’s review of Paris 3020 published before the lockdown.

This exhibition looks back to the art of the distant past and imagines how it might appear in the distant future. It is an extension of Arsham’s recurrent practice of ageing up emblematic objects and technologies of the past half-century into colourless, corroding husks.

Faustin Linyekula

BMW Tate Live Exhibition Performance

A one-off performance, My Body, My Archive, filmed in the now empty Tanks at Tate Modern following its closure to the public.

Leila Heller Gallery

Art Dubai and Alserkal Art Week Exhibitions

Leila Heller Gallery

The gallery’s online Art Dubai and Alserkal Art Week exhibitions are now available online, featuring works by artists including Reza Derakshani, Francesca Pasquali, Ran Hwang, Soraya Sharghi, Abdul Qader Al Rais, YZ Kami, Aref Montazeri and Shahzad Hassan Ghazi.

Christian Boltanski: Life in the making

Centre Pompidou, Paris

“…an artist marked by his history and a half-century of questioning on the role and voice of the artist in our societies”. For those of you who didn’t get to see the exhibition, watch this video walkthrough with Bernard Blistène, exhibition curator.

Rose Wylie – video interview, 2014

Studio International Archive
Surrounded by her wall-sized canvases and small graphite drawings (stored in paint-splattered plastic leaves), Wylie talked about her drawing, painting and thinking process, and the things that inspire and influence her work.

Don McCullin: The Stillness of Life

Hauser & Wirth
At home in Somerset, Don McCullin talks about photographing a landscape he knows in his bones, as depicted in his exhibition The Stillness of Life.