Seven ways to get your art fix when the galleries are closed

Living Well | Sue Hewitt | Posted on 16 April 2020

Art in isolation: Victoria's leading galleries throw open virtual doors.

Victoria’s public art galleries may be closed but they’ve opened their virtual doors online with things to see, hear and do. Even if you can’t travel, let your fingers do some keyboard walking and explore the state’s rich art treasures.

The Public Art Galleries Association of Victoria has set up a portal to all the online experiences its member galleries offer. And you don’t have to be an art connoisseur – there are projects for the kids, podcasts for the art-curious and virtual tours for armchair travellers.

Here’s our guide to Victoria’s online art feast.

Virtual tour of Bunjil Place art gallery

Go on a digital tour of Bunjil Place's The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion.

Seven ways to get your art fix when the galleries are closed

Arts In Isolation

Bunjil Place in Narre Warren has created #ArtsInIsolation – “a digital project that’ll be bringing cool videos, workshops, art and activities right to your desktop, laptop or mobile”. The hashtag is taking over its Facebook and Instagram pages so you can easily keep up to date. You can virtually tour behind the gallery’s closed doors and discover the current exhibition The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion – just point, click and zoom to see the artwork as it hangs on the gallery wall. 

See, hear and do

If you like a smorgasbord where you pick and choose your favourites, then the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery offers a varied feast. It starts with A Collection of Stranger Things exhibition where curator and artist Patrick Pound delves into the collection’s depository dusting off unique artworks. When the kids are bored there are creative activities including podcasts, videos and education resources, including sections for kids, teens and adults. For those curious about art and the lives of Bohemians there are podcasts from artists such as Juan Ford, Christian Capurro, Chris Bond, Vipoo Srivilasa and many more. 

Exploring nature

Everyone wants to show off their latest must-have items, including the Gippsland Art Gallery. The gallery has 217 new works to add to its 2200-plus permanent collection and rather than let them sit in a storeroom unseen, it is showcasing them online. As well as a rich selection of paintings, including one by Archibald Prize finalist Rick Amor, the new acquisitions include prints and sculpture, ceramic, metalwork, woodwork and mixed media, all exploring the collection’s overarching theme of the natural environment. 

Lens on the city

To celebrate its 30th anniversary this year, Monash Gallery of Art commissioned four leading Australian photographic artists to create works reflecting on the theme of the city as a microcosm of the nation. You can check out the works by Peta Clancy, Lee Grant, Ponch Hawkes and David Rosetzky online at the gallery’s Portrait of Monash: The Ties That Bind online exhibition. The artists use “their own inimitable lenses on their chosen topic of interest: local Indigenous sites of significance, the migrant experience, homelessness, and the LGBTQI+ community”.

Rick AMOR The On Ramp,2017 Oil on canvas 117 x 162cm Collection Gippsland Art Gallery. Donated by Rick Amor and Megan Williams through the Australian Government Cultural Gifts Program, 2019

Archibald Prize finalist Rick Amor's The On Ramp is one of Gippsland Art Gallery's Recent Acquisitions.

Behind the Wire - stories from detention poster

This art without borders exhibition, Behind the Wire: Stories from Detention, is a must-see.

Stories from behind the wire 

Bendigo’s La Trobe Art Institute’s current exhibition They Cannot Take the Sky: Stories from Detention is for people who like to read. Developed by Behind the Wire, a volunteer committee of individuals who lived as asylum seekers, and Melbourne’s Immigration Museum, this award-winning oral-history project documents stories from detention. 

Weekly delivery 

The Glen Eira City Council Gallery will send subscribers an online weekly feature on the artists from its collection, starting with Australian photographer Ponch Hawkes shortly. Also online are past exhibitions, including the Boyd Women, celebrating three generations of the women artists of the Boyd family, one of Australia’s most extraordinary and talented artistic families. 

Coming soon 

As galleries adapt to the new normal of life during a pandemic, more and more are turning online to connect art lovers with their collections. For example, Australia’s oldest and largest regional gallery, the Art Gallery of Ballarat, will soon be showcasing its new exhibition David Noonan: Stagecraft online, with videos of curator Julie McLaren speaking about different aspects of David's work.