The art world goes virtual

March 26, 2020

Art Basel in Hong Kong 2019 courtesy Art Basel 


Under the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak globally, art fairs and commercial galleries across the world try to go digital and stay connected with their audiences. Virtual exhibitions are taking place to showcase artwork and direct sales, as institutions and galleries are actively seeking alternatives to bringing artwork to the global network of collectors, buyers and art enthusiasts.


Following the cancellation of its 2020 Hong Kong fair, Art Basel launches Online Viewing Rooms to allow exhibitors to display and sell artworks virtually through an online exhibition. Through the Art Basel website and app, visitors can explore and collect works from curated, online-only exhibitions by gallery artists and special collaborations.



In Beijing, M Woods museum presents a digital exhibition since mid-February under the title “Art Is Still Here: A Hypothetical Show for a Closed Museum”. The digital exhibition fosters new ways to connect and engage with the public. In Shanghai, the Shanghai Museum is closed since late January in compliance to government’s epidemic management control. It organizes its digital platform and invites the public to view its collections online since then.


There are many added values that virtual tours and viewing rooms can provide, such as historical context through accompanying scholarly essays, reach collectors who can’t easily travel to galleries or art fairs, and eliminate shipping and flights to fairs. Virtual buying experiences may become increasingly necessary for the art market, it is not intended to replace the physical experience, but to bring a positive aspect of having these platforms for the dialogue of art.

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