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Ever-changing picture as galleries start to reopen

12 June, 2020 — By John Evans

Sad Rainbow artwork by Central St Martin’s student Zoom Rockman

AS a number of galleries and auction houses are set to reopen their doors on Monday, the art scene is still facing hard choices and a difficult future.

Nevertheless, the buoyancy of the sector has been demonstrated with the many lockdown initiatives that have widened opportunities for exploring art online, including the world’s great institutions, despite the drawbacks of not being able to visit most galleries in person, or even participate if one has no access to the web.

Among those preparing for June 15, Hampstead’s Catto Gallery said it’s looking forward to opening its doors on Monday, and has been featuring a “Lockdown Knockdown” sale with “30 per cent off every painting on our website” (cattogallery.co.uk). That ends on Sunday.

The Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in Canonbury has not named a day for a restart but said it is to extend its Tullio Crali: A Futurist Life show after it reopens. And it has put “bite-size introductions” to the exhibition of works by Crali (1910-2000) on its website (estorickcollection.com).

As with all galleries and museums the position is changing fast so an online check on progress is recommended, to see what is on offer from each.

Meanwhile, Tintype Gallery in Essex Road (tintypegallery.com), “open by appointment only” is hosting In Constant Use, a solo show by Adam Gillam from this week. His delicate structures use “scraps of material… assembled in an inventive, bricolage fashion”.

The House of Illustration site (houseofillustration.org.uk) notably features a series of free ecards with the Covid rainbow theme by Quentin Blake.

Camden Art Centre (camdenartcentre.org) currently has The Botanical Mind Online, investigating the significance of the plant kingdom to human life, consciousness and spirituality across cultures and through time.

The Zabludowicz Collection (zabludowiczcollection.com) is closed “until September” but check the site for updates.

Lauderdale House (lauderdalehouse.org.uk) has Peter Gallagher’s The Lost Spring, open 24/7 online as part of its lockdown programme.

Among other selling shows and auctions is The Figurative Art Fair, hosted online by Mall Galleries (mallgalleries.org.uk) and featuring about 250 artworks from some 100 artists, including Holloway’s Melissa Scott-Miller. Click on a work to check the price and availability.

Many artists have linked their work with charities.

Teen cartoonist and Central Saint Martin’s student Zoom Rockman, for example, has produced a T-shirt series featuring his Sad Rainbow work (pictured) in a fundraising campaign with mental health charity MIND.

And Unit London (theunitldn.com) is launching Drawn Together, its first online exhibition, to run to mid-July, with charities Médicins Sans Frontières and World Vision to benefit. More than 100 international artists are providing “intimate” works on paper aiming to reach a global audience of 10 million people and “illustrate their support for those in need”.

Arts Council England is offering 25,000 Let’s Create art packs aimed at primary and secondary school-aged children currently most in need of support. Charity A New Direction will work with community hubs to distribute the packs to London boroughs. Each will contain art supplies, including pens, pencils, paper, crayons and a scrapbook, as well as a booklet with creative activity ideas.

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