Exhibition Planning in the Wake of COVID-19
As the world struggles to come to terms with the best ways to handle COVID-19, many cultural institutions are facing a huge peroid of uncertainty. Because of the pandamic at hand, the arts industry has been especially hard hit, with the unprecedented closure of national and regional cultural venues throughout the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.
These temporary closures have caused disruption to the majority of cultural programming globally, including the cancellation or postponement of many exhibitions and events. For smaller institutions these measures are likely to be ‘fatal’, said the Museum’s Association last week, and ‘many communities [will] lose vital cultural resources’ in the wake of this pandemic.
Though most museums have stated their temporary closures are to last until the end of May, no one can be sure when the government imposed lockdowns across the world will be lifted. For museum staff looking towards the future and the reopening of their institutions, flexibility and adaptability must become a key focus in the next few months.
We’ve spoken before about the benefits of borrowing from private collections, and in particular how loans from collectors can often be some of the most flexible available.
Traditionally, loans between two museums can take months (or years) of negotiation and collaborative planning before coming to fruition. Many institutions require applications for object loans, discussions between curatorial teams, arrangements of external shipping, and sometimes additional insurance as well as security. In the face of this pandemic, it is likely that many loan agreements will be in jeopardy, and countless hours of collaborative planning will have been wasted.
By choosing to borrow privately owned art, not only can curators find rarely exhibited works, but objects that are available on much more flexible terms. Art on Vastari can be available immediately if desired, and in the past twelve months we have seen multiple occasions where curators have located and secured artworks for exhibitions in record breaking time. Recent examples include a museum in the Netherlands agreeing to multiple loans from a collection in a matter of days, and a curator from Germany finalising an object loan within 24 hours of signing up to the platform.
Aside from the speed at which works can be available, Vastari also offers curators the chance to research and discuss potential loans with increased flexibility, as many owners are open to various loan lengths, dates, and terms. Curators also routinely use Vastari as part of their curatorial planning process, connecting with owners to discuss loans for their programming one to five years in advance.