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“It’s what people need right now,” says Charles Riley, the director of the Nassau County Museum of Art about “Blue,” the exhibition focused around the Pantone color of the year that was slated to open in its gallery space just before the coronavirus pandemic forced Long Islanders into self-isolation. “The color blue is associated with escape, with serenity,” he says.
Despite the closing of its historic building, the public can still be transported by the calming effects of the art on view there. Visit the museum’s home page (nassaumuseum.org) and get a narrated glimpse of what is waiting behind the Gold Coast mansion’s walls, from an iconic “Blue Nude” paper cutout by Matisse to a 36-foot-long cyanotype by Stony Brook artist Han Qin to fine examples of Dutch blue Delftware ceramics.
It’s one of many world-class art venues on Long Island offering Long Islanders armchair viewing while its doors are closed. Thanks to a grant from The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, Parrish Arts Museum (parrishart.org) has upgraded the design and content of its website platform. “You can’t come into the building, but you can still be up close and personal,” says Parrish director Terrie Sultan.
Gallery-goers can continue to explore the museum through “Artists’ Stories,” a digital archive and commentary portraying its expansive holdings by artists working on the East End. Podcasts featuring conversations between curators, artists, performers and authors are also available for audience engagement, complemented by some 400 videos of the Parrish’s programs posted on Vimeo since its opening in Water Mill in 2012.
The museum has recently adapted its “Friday Nights Live” series to the online space, incorporating livestreaming and chats with prerecorded segments weekly at 5 p.m.
For younger artists, the site offers weekly project lesson plans making good use of free time and found materials such as magazine clippings and bottle caps. Kids can display their creations on the Parrish Instagram page.
DRIPPING WITH ATMOSPHERE
The audio tour (available in five languages) for the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in nearby Springs can be accessed on venue’s home page (stonybrook.edu/pkhouse/). The visit begins on the lawn overlooking an expanse of Accabonac Creek that stretches behind the Abstract Expressionist power couple’s home.
Right now, listeners are left to imagine Pollock in the shingled barn flinging paint across unprimed canvas laid on a rough-hewn floor, but the launch of a virtual reality tour is in the works. According to director Helen Harrison, the in-development simulation incorporates the artists’ voices and re-creations of the studio with canvases by both painters “returning” to their places of origin. “It fills the gap of what we can represent,” she explains.
East Hampton’s Guild Hall (guildhall.org) is doing its part to fill the gap for art enthusiasts. Along with “Live From Guild Hall,” a growing online compendium of gallery talks and performances, audiences can enjoy “Museum Mondays” highlighting show favorites of staff members as livestreamed and then archived events. Executive director Andrea Grover recently took viewers on a tour of its current “82nd Artist Members Exhibition,” the oldest non-juried art show on Long Island.
YOU BE THE JUDGE
Art aficionados can also select their favorites in the Heckscher Museum of Art’s juried competition featuring young local artists at heckscher.org and on Heckscher's social-media platforms. Weekly easy-to-follow Heckscher@Home art projects related to the permanent collection are available on Facebook Live via @heckschermuseum.
Beginning April 3, Heckscher will present the virtual exhibit “Amanda Valdez: Piecework,” which explores abstraction and the history of women’s work with fiber. Valdez will take over Heckscher’s Instagram page April 7 for an interactive event with art lovers.
The Southampton Arts Center continues to invite the public to “TAKEOVER! 2020 Artists in Residence” and past exhibitions and programs through its homepage (southamptonartscenter.org). Sunday painters, sculptors and photographers can share their own artwork by emailing images to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Long Island Museum similarly offers virtual tours of past shows and items in its permanent collection via a Google Arts & Culture link on its homepage (longislandmuseum.org) and the opportunity for its LIMarts members to post current projects on its social media platforms (#CallToCreativity).
“Before we were engaging online to entice people to come,” says the Parrish’s Terrie Sultan. “Now we are bringing the museum to them.”