February 23, 2021

WFH Distraction: Tour Virtual Art Exhibits Around L.A. and Beyond

Museums are still closed to visitors — save for looking at all outdoor installations and gift shops — but that shouldn’t dissuade you from absorbing art any way you can. From LACMA to MOCA to far-off collections in New York and Paris, museums adapted for COVID times. Virtual exhibits, live music, storytelling, VR tours, and interactive artist-led crafting sessions have been a highlight during the pandemic. And there’s no reason to stop while we tread lightly on this road back to normalcy. Plus, it just might be the way museums operate in the future.

Whether you’re looking for a momentary distraction, a reason to procrastinate, or some art-filled meditative calm, here are seven exhibits worth exploring from the comfort of your DTLA home.

Photo courtesy LACMA

Tour LACMA at Home

With the museum closed to indoor visitations, there are myriad ways to interact with art via sound, taste, storytelling, and even interactive ways to bring more art into your life (i.e. make a family quilt). Browse the collections, listen to music performed at the museum, and read about current digital exhibitions, like the wonderful View From Here

Photo courtesy the Getty/Netflix, Inc.

Learn About the Art of Bridgerton With the Getty

There’s a good chance you’ve been caught up in the sexy and escapist Bridgerton series on Netflix, and leave it to the Getty to tie one of the hottest shows today to art from yesterday. Tour the walls of Queen Charlotte’s homes with associate director of collections Richard Rand, who talks about art works real and imagined. 

Photo courtesy the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

Get Lost in The Fullness of Color at the Guggenheim

One way to get design and decor inspo is to look back at works of art from your favorite time period. Curator Megan Fontanella walks you through paintings from this fantastic exhibit with works by Morris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler, Kenneth Noland and more. Lucky New Yorkers can visit The Fullness of Color in person, but you can get a glimpse from your sofa.

Photo courtesy The Museum of Contemporary Art/photo by Jeff McLane.

Visit Seven Stations: Selections From MOCA’s Collection 

Part of MOCA’s attempt to bring art to everyone stuck at home, this exhibit takes you through works from mid-20th-century depictions of America in transition and psychologically charged figurative forms to early experiments in video and a gallery of MOCA’s beloved Mark Rothko paintings. Don’t miss the virtual studio tours series, in which MOCA Director Klaus Biesenbach  sweeps around the world to digitally visit with artists like Tomás Saraceno, Huma Bhabha, Elizabeth Peyton and many more.

Photo courtesy the Louvre Museum

Really Get to Know Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum

This virtual reality experience is part of the Paris museum’s famous Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, which commemorates the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death in France. Download the app for a super cool walk through the grounds and halls of the museum, plus a close-up on how da Vinci created one of his most famous paintings.

Photo courtesy the Asian Art Museum

Art That Calms from the Asian Art Museum 

The #ArtFromHome experiences at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum includes a series of meditative art videos. What’s a meditative art video? A soothing voice teaching about the peaceful landscapes on a 17th hookah vase, or moments of zen as seen through ancient sculptures of Buddha and other enlightened beings. The short videos will definitely bring a sense of calm to your day.

Fétiche et Fleurs by Palmer C. Hayden; courtesy The Museum of African American Art

Learn about the Palmer C. Hayden Collection at Museum of African American Art

Palmer C. Hayden was an American painter who depicted African-American life, landscapes, seascapes, and African influences until his death in 1973. The Museum of African American Art is unique not just because it features art as seen through the lens of African-American culture. It’s because it lives on the third floor of the Macy’s Baldwin Hills Crenshaw store, which makes art incredibly accessible (and free) to everyone. The Palmer C. Hayden Collection is a central part of MAALA, allowing insight to one of the most prolific artists during the Harlem Renaissance. You can view and learn about it here.

Featured photo: EJ Hill, Lesson #3, 2020; photo courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art