Art and culture on hold

Art without visitors – this did not only affect German museums and galleries during the ongoing Corona pandemic. The National Gallery in London was closed for 111 days, France’s Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot said she was heartbroken to see the closed doors of museums, and Italy wept no less. 

In most cities and counties in Bavaria, all exhibitions and museums were closed for at least four months. Now many are open again under the keyword #openbutsafe. Of course, with a limited number of visitors and a strict hygiene concept. Everything depends on the current incidence value. If this rises above 100, the emergency brake is applied and the museum has to close again. 

What does this mean for a museum? Is the Mona Lisa bored in the Louvre in the meantime, are exhibits gathering dust or are they on hold? The curator of the Louvre Côme Fabre said the significant sentence “Work of art, viewer and the one who takes care of the work of art, that belongs together”. 

Künstlerhaus Marktoberdorf stays in touch with visitors on film 

The Künstlerhaus Marktoberdorf has also dealt with this issue. Due to high incidence rates in the district, it was only able to open for a few days after the long closure. Now the doors are closed again. With a documentary film project, the museum, in cooperation with the communication agency FARBE BLAU and the documentary film studio Semicolon, wants to give people interested in art and culture and potential visitors* a look behind the scenes. 

The preparations for the opening of the exhibition “Abgefahren- das Auto in der Kunst” are currently being filmed. Most of the photographs, paintings, sculptures and video art by international artists such as Daniela Comani, Sylvie Fleury, Aris Georgiou, Ernst Heckelmann, Martin Klimas, Dana Lürken, Phillip von Recklinghausen, and many others have already arrived at the museum. 

Also on display are design studies of BMW Art Cars by artists Sandro Chia, David Hockney, Jenny Holzer, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol. 

Rehearsal hangings and setups behind closed doors with little staff and makeup, were accompanied by the camera. Interviews with artists are also part of the documentary film. A fascinating trove on an exciting subject, considered like no other in contemporary art, is waiting to be shown. The delivery of the five original designs of the BMW Art Cars is scheduled for April 23. Director Maya Heckelmann eagerly awaits whether this can take place. “For us, the current situation is not easy. The exhibitions are planned until next year, loan agreements have to be concluded, art transports have to be organized and insurance costs have to be paid without knowing whether the planning can be kept. But postponing is only possible to a certain extent, because the artworks are also going on their next stops all over the world.” 

The Tinguely Museum in Basel also had the idea of providing insights behind the scenes and keeping in touch with visitors through film. It is currently presenting special exhibitions, new projects and the show studio under tinguely@home. “If there’s one advantage to the lockdown, it’s that we can build and move works throughout the museum at the same time. But of course we are very happy to open again,” says museum director Roland Wetzel. 

Maya Heckelmann feels the same way. She is still holding on to the opening date in May, hoping “for a vernissage and the opportunity to make the art visible again” -so she is definitely preparing the next shoot for the exhibition. 

Photo: Grudrun Muschalla