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  • Emmanuelle Moureaux at Now Gallery

Virtual art and craft exhibitions to enjoy while isolated

Culture continues in spite of the coronavirus crisis

Galleries and museums are stepping up to the challenge of losing all their visitors overnight by moving programmes online – through virtual tours, videos, podcasts and social media coverage. In lieu of its usual monthly round-up of exhibitions to see, Crafts magazine is bringing you a selection of digital culture you can enjoy from the comfort of your sofa. We will be updating the list over the coming weeks so come back soon for more and send your ideas for inclusion to editorial@craftscouncil.org.uk

National Glass Centre, Sunderland

The exhibition No Strings features the work of seven international artists working with glass beads in unconventional ways, and includes a beaded burger and coke by Faranak Sohi, an evening dress made using beads and safety pins by Shige Fujishiro and a beaded chicken showing his gymnastic prowess on the rings by Felieke van der Leest. Watch this video tour by curator Julia Stephenson.

Four Landscapes (Module B) by Olga de Amaral

Frieze New York

The online viewing galleries of Frieze New York are open from 8 to 15 May. The galleries showing craft include Richard Saltoun, which is presenting a display dedicated to textile art to mark the 50th anniversary of the seminal 1969 MoMA exhibition Wall Hangings – with works by Olga de Amaral, Jagoda Buić, Shelagh Wakeley, Peter Collingwood and Gustavo Pérez Monzón. Elsewhere, Goodman Gallery is showing works that unpack the relationship between memory and time, including artists such as El Anatsui and Yinka Shonibare.

Jaejun Lee

Living Object

Vanessa Hogge, Arjan Van Dal and Jaejun Lee are among eight ceramicists in the topically named exhibition, Going Viral (8-10 May). Instagram posts of videos and photos reveal the making process behind the objects in the show.


After, Gerald Chukwuma, 2020, at Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery


The New York edition of the contemporary African art fair is taking place in digital form until the end of May, with beadwork artist Sanaa Gateja; Gerald Chukwuma, known for his intricate wood-slate sculptures; Turiya Magdalena, who uses fabrics such as pantyhose and correctional service uniforms in her work, and LR Vandy, who combines found and made objects, among the artists involved.

Detail from Alice Kettle Adam and Eve. Photo: by Joe Low

Compton Verney

A series of short films gives an insight into some of the objects in Fabric: Touch and Identity, which explores how clothes and fabric conceal, reveal and seduce through the lenses of art, design, fashion, film and dance. Raisa Kabir talks about her piece Feminist Fabric: A Fat Corset, Alice Kettle, who co-curated the show, discusses her pair of works, Adam and Eve, as well as ones by Nigel Hurlstone and Vivienne Westwood, and co-curator Lesley Millar talks about Ruta Naujalyte’s My Love, I Will Eat You Alive.

Freeman Vines with his Hanging Tree Guitars, 2015. Photo: Timothy Duffy

Turner Contemporary

Take a virtual tour of We Will Walk, which features art shaped by the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 60s in the American South – much of which is characterised by remaking of existing objects and reuse of materials. Among the works are quilts by the women of Gee’s Bend, an isolated community in Alabama, and guitars by Freeman Vines, which depict painful themes such as the story of Oliver Moore, a man who was lynched from a tree the artist used for to carve his objects.

The Tale of Old Man Who Made Trees Blossom. Photo: Courtesy of Anno Art Museum, Tsuwano

Anno Mitsumasa at Japan House London

Head to the Japan House London website for a 3D show of the life’s work of artist and illustrator Anno Mitsumasa – including works that use powder pigment on silk and ones from the 1970s made using traditional papercutting techniques. 

Strut Your Stuff, Peter Clark, 2019

Portland Gallery

Just Trying to Have Me Some Fun is an exhibition of 40 new works by collagist Peter Clark, fashioned from old posters, magazines, handwritten pages and bus and railway tickets. The artist has made these fragments into pictures of flowers, clothing, birds and dogs – all of which you can see on this virtual tour.

Closer, Still at Southern Guild

Southern Guild

The Cape Town gallery’s exhibition, Closer, Still, is a response to the current coronavirus crisis – exploring themes such as ingenuity, rebuilding, creative reuse and tenderness, through works by artists such as ceramicists Andile Dyalvane and Chuma Maweni, woodcarver Adam Birch and weaver Nicholas Coutts. The gallery is donating 30% of the price of all works sold to charities working to supply food and other essentials to vulnerable families in South African townships.

Realising Form at Make Gallery, Somerset

Make Gallery

Realising Form features six makers who are exploring the material possibilities of their individual locations – responding to landscape, nature and architecture using clay, iron, concrete, glass and Jesmonite. Among them are porcelain artist Nuala O’Donovan, blacksmith Daniel Freyne and Harry Morgan, who works with concrete and glass.

Neri Oxman at MoMA

Museum of Modern Art

MoMA is launching its spring 2020 exhibitions online – among them, a major exhibition of work by sculpture Donald Judd (from 23 April) and Neri Oxman’s Material Ecology (14 May) which looks at the materials, techniques and objects that have influenced the MIT professor’s research at the intersection of biology, engineering and materials and computer science.

Lawrence Dicks at Candida Stevens Gallery

Candida Stevens Gallery

The gallery is showing all the works in its exhibition of bronze sculptor Lawrence Dicks on its website, alongside installation views and price lists, with a video interview with the artist to come.

Pussy hat by Abbey Gans Mather in the Crafts Council collection

Crafts Council collection

The opening of the Crafts Council’s new gallery has been postponed because of the lockdown, but you can still see some of its collection online, including the objects that were selected for its inaugural exhibition, Maker's Eye, recent acquisitions and older works.

Formafantasma at the Serpentine

Serpentine Gallery

The Serpentine is making a substantial chunk of its current exhibitions available online through a digital guide that offers an interactive gallery experience, as well as additional audio and video content and curator tours. Among its current shows are experimental design studio Formafantasma’s Cambio, an investigation into the governance of the timber industry, and a solo show by multi-media artist and filmmaker Cao Fei, who explores the impact of developments such as virtuality and automation on the human body, cities and our perceptions.

Fans Unfolded at the Fitzwilliam Museum

Fitzwilliam Museum

You can experience a taste of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s Fans Unfolded exhibition through a video on its website, which showcases rare and exquisitely decorated fans and reveals the techniques behind their making and conservation.

Dress by Alexander McQueen in the V&A collection

Victoria & Albert Museum

The V&A’s online archive gives you a glimpse of its vast collections, categorised by periods and styles, materials and techniques, places, spaces and people. Take in items from the Islamic Middle East, the Arts & Crafts movement, Alexander McQueen and more. 

Ceramic dish in the Ashmolean collection


The Ashmolean aimed to make 25% of its objects available online by 2020. You can now browse through more than 112,500 objects on its website, including a timeline spanning from the palaeolithic period to the modern day, including its substantial ceramics collection.

The National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, South Korea, on Google Arts & Culture

Google Arts & Culture

Google launched this platform as far back as 2011 in collaboration with 17 international museums, including Tate in London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Uffizi in Florence. It now features more than 32,000 artworks from 46 museums – from Mexico to Tokyo – allowing people to virtually walk through galleries and see collections from around the world. 

Beyond the Vessel at Messums Wiltshire

Messums Wiltshire

Messums was quick off the mark in moving its operations online, launching Beyond the Vessel: Narratives in Contemporary European Ceramics – which features works by Sam Bakewell, Phoebe Cummings, Claire Curneen and more – with a virtual tour filmed by a drone. There’s more to come, with its exhibition of work by modern British female textile designers launching in mid-April.

Svend Bayer at Goldmark Gallery

Goldmark Gallery

The East Midlands gallery launched its own TV channel with a 50-minute film about its exhibition of work by potter Svend Bayer, including an interview and tour of the show. It says that it was the 'most successful ceramics opening that we've ever staged'. Its Phil Rogers show in May is set to get a similar treatment.

Kelly Jenkins at Infinity Rooms

Degree Art

Online gallery Degree Art, which specialises in student and graduate art sales, is launching its exhibition Infinity Art with a virtual private view, accompanied by a soundtrack by Icelandic film and television composer Biggi Hilmars. More than 20 artists will show work, including collage artist Helen Gorrill; Kelly Jenkins, who makes textured, embroidered paintings; bronze sculptor Johannes Nielsen’ and bronze and wood sculptor Philip Hearsey.

Bisa Butler at the Katonah Museum

Katonah Museum

We featured the work of textile artist Bisa Butler in the current issue of Crafts magazine in the lead-up to her solo show at the Katonah Museum in New York. The exhibition didn’t open but you can see some of her vivid quilted portraits capturing African-American identity and culture through a video tour.

State Russian Museum

This St Petersberg institution holds the world's largest collection of Russian art, including more than 35,000 exhibits in the decorative and fine arts section, including porcelain, glass, precious and coloured metals, textiles, church vestments, furniture, wood and bone carvings.

Emmanuelle Moureaux at Now Gallery

Now Gallery

Now gallery in Greenwich is using social media – Instagram, IGTV and Facebook – to give people a glimpse of Slices of Time, architect and designer Emmanuelle Moureaux’s large-scale immersive installation of colourful cut paper in a gradient of 100 shades.

Yuta Segawa, Ceramic Art London

Ceramic Art London

In the absence of its annual showcase at Central St Martins, CAL quickly moved to the digital realm, launching a campaign called #VirtualCal to encourage those who would have exhibited to share their work on social media and viewers to buy their work directly. As with previous years, you can find exhibitors’ contact details for free through its online archive.

Kettle's Yard

Kettle’s Yard

The Cambridge museum has installed a webcam to offer a live stream of one of its spaces filled with plants, glass fishing floats, pebbles, shells and artworks – including Gregorio Vardanega’s suspended Perspex Disc, a tall pot by William Staite Murray, a small still-life by Ben Nicholson and two new glass works by photographer and performance artist Linder. Watch the light change throughout the day as it streams through the window.

The British Museum

British Museum

Apparently, the British Museum is the largest indoor space on Google Street View – you can use the tool to peruse more than 60 of its galleries and its wealth of ancient and no-so-ancient artefacts. You can also explore the museum’s collection of contemporary and historical objects through its own website, as well as using its learning resources, listening to podcasts and audio tours and watching video interviews with its curators, scientists and conservators.

Dale Chihuly at Sims Reed Gallery

Chihuly: An Exhibition of Prints and Works on Paper at Sims Reed Gallery

The renowned glass artist considers drawing to be integral to his practice, especially as a tool to communicate ideas to his team since losing sight in his left eye in 1976. This exhibition shows 29 prints and 10 original works on paper through a 3D viewing tool, from charcoal and graphite studies into brightly colourful ones – some of which draw on his sculptural pieces. 

Sistine Chapel at the Vatican

Vatican Museums

With murals, tapestries, tiled surfaces, the Vatican is a treasure trove of craft. Its website takes you inside the Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms and more through 360-degree virtual tours and videos.

Crafts magazine and the Crafts Council are trying their best to support you through this difficult time. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing content online to keep you inspired and entertained, as well as advice on how to continue your craft business during this period of isolation. In the meantime, browse our list of craft books to read and to learn from, plus podcasts and online courses to help you beat isolation boredom. You can also browse five decades worth of Crafts magazine back issues for free online

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