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Art lovers can now curate their own exhibitions at home using a revolutionary new tool

Choose from thousands of works by Kahlo, Hockney and Bacon on Art UK’s extensive online platform

London’s museums and galleries may remain closed due to the current lockdown, but there are still plenty of ways to enjoy art online, whether that’s through virtual tours, online master classes or specially curated digital exhibitions. Now there’s an even more interactive way for arty types to get involved, with a new online tool launching that allows enthusiasts to curate their own free exhibitions at home.

Frank Cadogan Cowper RA, Vanity, 1907,
Frank Cadogan Cowper RA, Vanity, 1907, © Royal Academy

The new online tool, Curations, will allow anyone to create their very own digital show made up of pieces from Art UK’s extensive collection, the online hub for the country’s artworks. The platform houses a staggering 250,000 works by 46,000 artists from 3,300 collection venues, ranging from colourful Frida Kahlo paintings to pieces by David Hockney, who has been creating his own series of iPad drawings during lockdown, Francis Bacon and Peter Blake.

Visitors to the site can browse current exhibitions for inspiration, including highlights from Beyond the Brotherhood: The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy, an exhibition held by the Southampton City Art Gallery and Joan Bakewell’s personal selection of paintings. Works can also be discovered by searching by theme, artist or venue, and can be arranged however the curator chooses. These curated exhibitions can then be kept private, or shared publicly, using the hashtags #CurateYourOwn and #ArtUKCurations

The launch on 18 May coincides with International Museum Day, an annual campaign celebrating the important role of museums in serving society and its development. Artists around the country have been quick to praise the scheme, including Art UK’s 2020 Patron Conrad Shawcross, who said: “In these unprecedented times, [this] is an extraordinary tool that offers new and innovative ways for the public to engage with the nation’s art.”

Frank Cadogan Cowper RA, Vanity, 1907,
Frank Cadogan Cowper RA, Vanity, 1907, © Royal Academy

The new online tool, Curations, will allow anyone to create their very own digital show made up of pieces from Art UK’s extensive collection, the online hub for the country’s artworks. The platform houses a staggering 250,000 works by 46,000 artists from 3,300 collection venues, ranging from colourful Frida Kahlo paintings to pieces by David Hockney, who has been creating his own series of iPad drawings during lockdown, Francis Bacon and Peter Blake.

Visitors to the site can browse current exhibitions for inspiration, including highlights from Beyond the Brotherhood: The Pre-Raphaelite Legacy, an exhibition held by the Southampton City Art Gallery and Joan Bakewell’s personal selection of paintings. Works can also be discovered by searching by theme, artist or venue, and can be arranged however the curator chooses. These curated exhibitions can then be kept private, or shared publicly, using the hashtags #CurateYourOwn and #ArtUKCurations

The launch on 18 May coincides with International Museum Day, an annual campaign celebrating the important role of museums in serving society and its development. Artists around the country have been quick to praise the scheme, including Art UK’s 2020 Patron Conrad Shawcross, who said: “In these unprecedented times, [this] is an extraordinary tool that offers new and innovative ways for the public to engage with the nation’s art.”

Modigliani, Portrait of a Young Woman, 1918
Modigliani, Portrait of a Young Woman, 1918.
Courtesy of Yale University Art Gallery and Tate Modern
Francis Bacon, Self-portrait (1971)
Francis Bacon, Self-portrait, 1971

“Curations is an example of what is possible when you digitally connect the national art collection,” said Art UK’s Director Andrew Ellis. “It means museums and the public alike can now bring together artworks from institutions across the country, tell the stories behind the art, and share their Curations with others. Art UK is all about democratising the nation’s art collection. Curations takes this a step further.”

Visit artuk.org to make your own curation

Main picture: Frida Kahlo, The Wounded Deer, 1946
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