How to Get Your Culture Fix in the Age of Social Distancing

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Studio 54 night club New York Pat Cleveland Jerry Hall
Fiorucci Dancers, April 26, 1977. From the Brooklyn Museum’s Studio 54: Night MagicCourtesy of Allan Tannenbaum. © 2019 Allan Tannenbaum

There are ways to see exhibitions and visit museums without having to leave the house – here are some of the best virtual tours and digital archives on the web

Global museums

Many of the most established and prestigious institutions have their collections and exhibitions available online for virtual visitors the world over (pandemic or not). From the Louvre to the Prado, the world’s richest art history is archived online. In London, the historic British Museum, art behemoth Tate, and the Victoria and Albert Museum (whose fashion collection features gowns by Cristóbal Balenciaga and Alexander McQueen) all have digital archives of their extensive collections, available to peruse online. London’s National Portrait Gallery even has 360-degree views of all its gallery rooms. Across the pond, the same goes for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, MoMA New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, the Whitney Museum and the Brooklyn Museum (the lead image is from the Brooklyn Museum’s recently opened exhibition Studio 54: Night Magic).

Local institutions

The Instagram account @artofsocialdistancing has been started to provide up-to-date information on exhibitions affected by the pandemic. Though it’s no surprise that most posts are news of closures and postponements, the feed also acts as something of a virtual peek inside many smaller gallery exhibitions staged in various cities – from London’s Sid Motion Gallery and Carlos / Ishikawa to the ICA Boston and Paris’ Lafayette Anticipations. Huxley-Parlour, Serpentine and Hauser & Wirth also have compelling online resources worth delving into.


Photography fans should look to Magnum Photos’ impressive online resources: from interviews with some of the agency’s most famed photographers (highlights include Eve Arnold, Leonard Freed and Susan Meiselas) to online courses with image-makers like Alec Soth, or advice on breaking into the industry as a graduate. Paris’ Maison Européene de la Photographie also boasts digitised versions of its exhibitions Bliss of Conformity and Mihai Grecu. The recently opened Dorothea Lange exhibition at New York’s MoMA, Words and Pictures, is also supported with fascinating online insights like audio clips of the photographer and written interviews.


Google’s Arts and Culture celebrates the seminal design movement that swept the early 20th century with Bauhaus Everywhere, a series of interactive and informative articles launched to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus. Judd at MoMA New York is an exhibition dedicated to the pioneering and enduring work of Donald Judd, and is supported with a series of soundbites from leading artists and writers detailing why Judd continues to inspire – all available to listen to online. If you’re looking to brush up on your design knowledge, the Design Museum’s archives and collections information online is a must-visit – complete with dedicated pages for chair designs by the decade.


Ahead of Marina Abramovic’s anticipated exhibition at London’s Royal Academy, opening in September, browse Google Arts and Culture’s selection of articles and information dedicated to the pioneering performance artist. David Zwirner is also making the most of its online resources during the temporary closure of its galleries: head to the ‘viewing rooms’ to visit some of its current and past exhibitions. On now is James Welling’s Pathological Colour. In Italy, the Fondazione Prada has announced extensions of its exhibitions and events. Head to the Fondazione’s website and social channels for in-depth looks inside exhibitions including The Porcelain Room, Liu Ye: Storytelling, and K.