London announced that a handful of its galleries would reopen on June 15.
As cities across the world begin to come back to life slowly as the strict lockdowns are slowly lifted and social distancing precautions begin to ease, the art world is beginning its own challenging journey back to normal. While most galleries went virtual during the lockdown, most in the artworld know that nothing can compare with the experience of seeing art in person in a gallery setting. David Zwirner, an established art dealer with galleries in New York, London, Paris and Hong Kong, spoke to Bloomberg about this. “All the energy that used to go to the brick-and-mortar gallery went to the online space,” he said.
A few of the major art hubs are taking the charge in reopening art galleries, not without precautions of course. Most will open by appointment only, with a limit on the number of guests inside the space at one time. Face masks are also required. Social distancing will be enforced as much as possible.
London galleries that have begun reopening include David Zwirner, Gagosian, Hauser & Wirth, Thomas Dane Gallery, Luxembourg & Dayan, Holtermann Fine Art, Stephen Friedman Gallery, Goodman Gallery, Annely Juda Fine Art, Pace Gallery, Simon Lee Gallery, Skarstedt, Sprüth Magers, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac and White Cube Mason’s Yard.
David Zwirner Gallery will reopen with two exhibitions: Bridget Riley, Studies 1984-1997 and Paul Klee, Late Klee. The two exhibits are concurrent, as Riley’s work on view are pieces that were inspired by the work of Klee and his impact on her own view of abstract art.
Constellations, an exhibit by James Turrell is on view for the reopening of Pace Gallery in London. Turrell’s work concentrates on light and space and this exhibit incorporates LED lights throughout its individual works. A spokesperson for the gallery told Artnet News,“Reopening is a concerted effort and we’ve had several conversations with neighboring galleries, colleagues and friends, to make the best decision, share good practice and coordinate this process.”
Other galleries have adjusted exhibits to reflect upon the current environment we are in, focusing on the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the world. Stephen Friedman Gallery will showcase a sculpture by the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare entitled Justice for All. South African artist David Goldblatt‘s photographs documenting racial inequality and social injustice in his country will be on view at Goodman Gallery.
As London galleries spring back to life and gain their footing again, museums there still remain closed. Hopefully this is a first step in the reemergence of the art world as we know it and soon galleries across the world will return to normal, as they were meant to be: an in-person, dynamic experience meant to be viewed in a gallery setting.