Virtual Reality

Posted on May 16, 2020

It might be hard to think of ourselves as lucky right now, but in a way, we clearly are. More than a hundred years ago, during the 1918 flu pandemic, most people didn’t have telephones. Now, we not only have cell phones, we also have the internet. From our desks, kitchen tables, and couches, the world is at our fingertips, making this period an excellent time to enjoy the art we love.

Like everything else in town, our famed museums are closed, but these are innovative times, and from fine art to folk art to photography, San Diego’s vast array of museums have gone virtual, expanding their online offerings for all to enjoy whether in solace or for edification. Below is just a sample. If you don’t see your favorite, explore online. You are sure to be amazed.

San Diego Museum of Art

Download the SDMA app and take a virtual tour of the museum’s remarkable collection or tune in to its YouTube channel for gallery talks and performances including Masterpiece Minutes, a 60-second podcast highlighting specific works, and ArtStop, which features interactive clips discussing several works.

There are also weekly at-home projects such as exploring abstract art through collage and performances by the San Diego Opera and Youth Symphony.

Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber, Juan Sánchez Cotán, San Diego Museum of Art

Museum of Photographic Arts

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, MOPA returns to its roots as a “Community Attraction Without Walls.” Just as it once used spaces throughout San Diego to bring its collection and exhibits to communities throughout the region, online MOPA is now offering weekly programs and a virtual community to immerse people in the world of photography from their homes.

MOPA’s YouTube channel includes how-to videos, artist one-on-ones, and online exhibitions drawn from what is now nearing 200 years of photographic history.

Freewheeling Trip (Tiger Tiger Tiger), Ni Youyu, Museum of Photographic Arts

Timken Museum of Art

Not only is the Timken’s collection online, the museum has introduced new online art classes available to the general public but designed for access by patients of Balboa Naval Hospital and residents of Juvenile Hall.

The innovative art classes produced by the Timken’s education department look to reach those with even greater challenges during this time, and they are also planning to create classes for seniors.

Oceanside Museum of Art

Perfect for the moment, the OMA website includes a page titled “Museum from Home.” While its doors are closed, the museum is hosting numerous virtual events, from Jaw Dropping Art and Its Censorship, which includes Michelangelo’s David, to Pom-Pom Party, a fun way to beat the boredom of isolation with a project that will be installed on the museum façade when the stay-at-home order is lifted.   Bill Abrams

Header Image: Freewheeling Trip (The Invader), Ni Youyu,  2018, antique photo collage. © Ni Youyu, Courtesy of the artist

Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber, Juan Sánchez Cotán, ca. 1602. Oil on canvas

Freewheeling Trip (Tiger Tiger Tiger), Ni Youyu, 2018, antique photo collage. © Ni Youyu, Courtesy of the artist