London’s 9 best virtual art exhibitions to view online this spring

Lockdown doesn't have to stop you getting your dose of culture thanks to these virtual art exhibitions from London’s top museums and galleries

Galleries and museums may have had to close their doors for the time being, but London’s institutions now have plenty of experience in bringing their art exhibitions online. Whether it’s offering a video tour of much-anticipated shows cut short like Tracey Emin/ Edvard Munch at the Royal Academy, or a look at brand new works from artists like Amy Sherald and Stan Douglas, this spring has plenty to explore. Here, we’ve rounded up the most exciting digital art exhibitions to catch over the coming months.

Tate Modern: Resilient Responses
From 4 February

Exciting new artists Thomas Heyes, Ekin Bernay and Rowdy SS, along with special guest Rebecca Bellantoni, offer each of their own responses to our current times through music, dance and spoken word in this filmed multisensory performance. Exploring the themes of identity, isolation and human resilience amidst a pandemic, each performance was recorded in the empty Tate spaces during the lockdown. Tate members can also access curator-led video tours of exhibitions including Bruce Nauman at Tate Modern, Don McCullin at Tate Liverpool and Turner’s Modern World at Tate Britain.

National Gallery: Artemisia
Until 31 March

17th century artist Artemisia was exceptional for being one of the only female artists to be successful in her time, and the incredible quality of the work shows how she was able to claim that rare triumph. Brilliantly vivid, Artemisia’s paintings focus on telling the stories of heroines from history and the Bible and champion female strength, as most clearly shown in her two versions of ‘Judith beheading Holofernes.’ With the first UK exhibition of her work cut short due to the pandemic, the National Gallery have created a 30 minute curator-led video tour, exclusive to members.

Royal Academy: Tracey Emin / Edvard Munch: The Loneliness of the Soul
Until 28 February

Another exhibition cut short by the latest lockdown, this innovative show exploring Tracey Emin’s long-held fascination with The Scream artist Edvard Munch has now gone virtual. The video tour shows the curated selection of 25 Emin works, including paintings, neon installations and sculpture, sitting alongside 18 oils and watercolours by Munch from the artist’s archive in Oslo, Norway. Exploring their shared interest in themes of loneliness and raw emotions, the landmark exhibition is a fascinating look at the parallel works of two boundary-pushing artists.

Hauser & Wirth: Amy Sherald ‘Womanist is to Feminist as Purple is to Lavender’
Available now
London's 9 best virtual art exhibitions to view online this spring
Amy Sherald, Untitled 2020

The American artist, best known for being picked to paint the official portrait of Michelle Obama, has a series of five small portraits now on show digitally with Hauser & Wirth. All painted during lockdown, the portraits mark Sherald’s first use of gouache since childhood, and each depicts a modern Black woman at ease — riding a bike, sitting casually in an armchair or simply posing in a stand-out shirt. They are radical in their simplicity, as the tradition of portraits of people at leisure have historically excluded Black people. Each piece, plus a video of Sherald talking about the portraits, are available to view online now.

London's 9 best virtual art exhibitions to view online this spring
Amy Sherald, Untitled 2020
V&A: Raphael Cartoons
Available now

Commissioned in 1515 by Pope Leo X for the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, these seven full-scale designs for tapestries painted by Raphael are one of the masterpieces of the Renaissance. Depicting the lives of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the Cartoons have been on loan to the V&A from the Queen since 1865, but this virtual presentation offers a unique opportunity to view them in great detail, as well as explore the history and significance of these works.

Whitechapel Gallery: A Listening Eye: The Films of Mike Dibb
Until 26 March
London's 9 best virtual art exhibitions to view online this spring
Mike Dibb selecting an image for Seeing Through Drawing. Courtesy- Mike Dibb

To celebrate the career of multi-award-winning documentary filmmaker Mike Dibb, best known for his television essay Ways of Seeing, the Whitechapel Gallery is releasing one of his films every Friday at 11am. Now in his 80th year and currently completing a new work about America’s use of long-term solitary confinement, the influential television documentarian is famed for changing the landscape of portrait documentaries, with subjects including Salvador Dali, Miles Davis and David Hockney.

Victoria Miro: The Sky was Blue the Sea was Blue and the Boy was Blue
24 February – 31 March
London's 9 best virtual art exhibitions to view online this spring
Paula Rego, The Sky was Blue the Sea was Blue and the Boy was Blue (detail), 2017, © Paula Rego

The contemporary gallery has organised a celebration of blues with this exhibition pulling together works by 19 artists that feature and champion the colour. Featuring pieces by the likes of Paula Rego, the acclaimed Portuguese-born visual artist, the highlight of the calming, polysemic colour is a timely choice.

David Zwirner: Stan Douglas
Available now
London's 9 best virtual art exhibitions to view online this spring

Artist Stan Douglas’ Penn Station’s Half Century fuses together CG and staged photography for this series examining the history of one of New York’s most iconic buildings. Focused on the original Pennsylvania Station, the series depicts the evolution of the site over 53 years, from its creation in 1910 to its eventual demolition in 1963 when it was knocked down to make way for Madison Square Garden. Featuring nine vignettes, made over four days with over 400 actors, this virtual exhibition offers transporting images of historic New York as well as a behind-the-scenes glimpse into their creation.

White Cube: Rachel Kneebone
5 February – 14 March
London's 9 best virtual art exhibitions to view online this spring

London-based sculptor Rachel Kneebone gets a solo show in this virtual White Cube exhibition featuring her intricate, fluid pieces inspired by the idea of pausing. Designed to capture the moment between movement and stillness, Kneebone’s porcelain sculptures appear to depict the human form in a way that is both free and carefully designed. Capturing bodies in transition, the pieces take inspiration from the artist Robert Morris and American dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham.

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