There’s already been three weeks worth of social distancing and quarantine in the Czech Republic. All of the measures being taken are for our safety and health, but it’s understandable to miss our normal lives. We at Art of Prague are obviously missing art: discovering young artists, admiring older masters and meeting other art lovers during exhibition openings.
However, we’ve managed to find some ways to cope with that absence by re-reading forgotten art books, taking online art courses, and exploring virtual museums. We would like to share our tips for getting through this difficult period while also supporting artists as much as possible.
1. Modern Art 1870–2000. Impressionism to Today, TASCHEN
This book will take up a lot of space on your shelf. It is brimming with texts about the most significant art movements and art pieces from Impressionism to Postmodernism.
2. Praha moderní (eng. Modern Prague), Zdeněk Lukeš
Get a closeup on modernism in Prague’s architecture from 1900 to 1950. The book is divided by the districts of Prague, so it’s a great guide to get to know the other faces of architecture found in the Czech capital. It features The House of the Black Madonna (an example of cubism), the Jubilee Synagogue, Bílek Villa (mentioned in our previous article), Kovařovic Villa and many more.
Note for our foreign audience: Unfortunately the book is not published in English. But it can be a great way to learn new words in Czech!
3. Job100, Boey Wang
An artist we met personally at the Frame Comics Art Festival in 2018 has his own book. (As you can see in the photo, BoeyW signed his book for us with a unique drawing in the same style as the art featured in the book).
Job100 focuses on the 100 lowest-paid and least acclaimed jobs in the context of Chinese society. Even though the workers are drawn as funny, lighthearted puzzles, upon closer inspection you will see that most of them can barely support themselves.
4. Surrealism, Cathrin Klingsöhr-Leroy, TASCHEN
This publication is a great source of knowledge for all fans of Surrealism. It tells the history of the movement from the Manifesto to the period when many surrealists moved to New York. However, it’s not just another art history book. The best parts are the analyses of the most significant works of Surrealists – not only the most popular ones like The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali, but also less mainstream pieces like beautiful Pleiades by Max Ernst.
5. What Are You Looking At? 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye, Will Gompertz, Penguin Books
We bet that a lot of art lovers have the same issue as us – most art books are super heavy with a massive amount of images, making them impossible to read on public transportation, airplanes or at bedtime. To a certain extent, the amount of images in art publications is necessary. However, we would all like to pack something to read on the train when this travel ban is finally lifted, right?
What Are You Looking At? provides a large amount of knowledge about modern art in a lighter format. At the same time, it’s very comprehensive, energetic and fun. Do you remember that one amazing teacher you had who captured the attention of the entire class? Will Gompertz will remind you of them.
VIRTUAL GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS IN PRAGUE
1. Livestream Tour of the Old Masters Collection, National Gallery Prague
The Schwarzenberg Palace’s collection presents artworks from the period between the 16th and 18th century. The Collection of Old Masters presents the works of Petr Brandl, Albrecht Dürer, El Greco, Francisco José Goya, Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens and many more.
The streaming will take place on the 8th of April on NGP’s Facebook page. You can check out the event here: link
An important note for our expat audience: the tour will be in Czech.
2. Virtual exhibition: Alžběta Jungrová: Exit, Trafo Gallery
This exhibition presents the works of photographer Alžběta Jungrová who is a former reporter that photographed the places where nobody else wanted to go. This time, Jungrová isn’t presenting documentary photography, but rather more of a free form focused on her own feelings and womanhood.
You can take the virtual tour here: link
3. Virtual Tour of Prague’s National Museum
This is your chance to see Prague’s National Museum without fighting the crowds. You can take the tour here: link
ONLINE ART COURSES
1. Fashion as Design offered by MoMA
This course is a great chance to change your perspective on fashion. Fashion is not only about practical objects, i.e. clothing. It’s also a discipline of design that has a huge cultural impact.
The course starts from a story about two of MoMA’s exhibitions: Are Clothes Modern? from 1944 and ITEMS: Is Fashion Modern? from 2017. Can you believe that MoMA didn’t host any fashion exhibition for more than 70 years? The authors of the ITEMS: Is Fashion Modern? exhibition are also authors of the course. They tell the stories of both shows, which is the basis of the whole course. Thanks to that, we learn about the most iconic fashion items and obviously – about fashion as a form of design and art.
In response to the COVID-19, Coursea offers free certificates for a bunch of courses. Fashion as Design is one of them. You can access the course here: link
Here is the manual for how to apply for a free certificate: link
2. What Is Contemporary Art? offered by MoMA
In this course, you’ll get a perspective on contemporary art through more than 70 works of art made between 1980 and now. All lessons are for free, but you must pay for the certificate.
You can access the course here: link
3. Seeing Through Photographs offered by MoMA
Seeing and truly understanding photography do not always go hand in hand. This course aims to address the gap between these two paths of perception. All of it is introduced by photographs from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art.
All lessons are for free but you must pay for the certificate. You can access the course here: link
4. Exposing Digital Photography offered by Harvard University
If you are a photographer, this course is for you. The lessons are about the artistic, technical and scientific aspects of photography.
You can access the course here: link. All lessons are for free but you must pay for the certificate.
CHECK OUT ONLINE ART RESOURCES
1. Google Arts & Culture
Google’s art platform offers a lot of art resources like, for example, high resolution previews of artworks or 360° videos of art venues. They also offer fun art activities. You can strike a pose like a muse in a painting, turn your coffee into a work of art, find out which member of the royal family you would be, or hang a virtual painting on your own wall.
Check out Google Arts & Culture here: link
To access the most fun activities like turning your coffee into artwork, we recommend downloading the Google Arts & Culture app.
2. Online resources of the National Gallery in Prague
NGP has very wide online collection in their archive which you can access here: link
3. Fashion History Timeline
Ever wondered about the fashion in Renoir’s paintings? No? Neither have we. But it is worth knowing that Renoir’s father was a tailor and his mother a dressmaker – clearly fashion had an impact on his paintings.
Artsy is a very useful platform for all art lovers. You not only can view different artworks, but also read very interesting articles and purchase art.
WATCH YOUTUBE VIDEOS ABOUT ART
1. Sotheby’s channel: link
2. Artsy’s channel: link
3. NOWNESS’s series of videos about photographers: link
4. Artnet: link
5. i-D Magazine’s video about next generation photographers: link
6. DOX Prague channel: link
SUPPORT ARTISTS DURING DIFFICULT TIMES
1. Purchase art
Investing in art usually requires a lot of funds. However, a lot of artists sell reprints, postcards or canvas bags with their art. They are usually cheaper than buying original artwork, but it still helps to support the artists. Try to find your favourite artist’s online shop and show them your appreciation.
2. Show your appreciation on artists’ social media channels
We’re not all capable of actually buying art. We get that. That’s why you can try to support your favourite artists on social media. A high amount of impressions can put them in the spotlight of someone who has the resources to buy and promote their works.
3. Take part in the Festival of Nothing 2020
NIC 2020 is a festival that doesn’t actually exist. It’s a symbolic initiative organized by GoOut and Prague City Councillor.
The purpose is to encourage people to buy tickets for literally nothing. However, this nothing is not really nothing – it’s in support of your favourites galleries, theatres and other cultural venues.
To find out how it works and what venues are part of the festival, click here: link
4. Buy a voucher for future events on GoOut: link