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Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, uncertainty looms large over normal public life in many parts of the world, including India, and has also caused the Indian and global art world to go into a lockdown…reports Siddhi Jain from New Delhi

Taj Mahal in Agra, New Delhi (Photo: Pixabay)

With the closing of all Archeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected monuments and sites — including the non-ticketed ones — like Taj Mahal, Red Fort and Humayun’s Tomb, and even the National Museum, until March 31 to guard against large gatherings, the standstill is also being seen among private art galleries and museums.

Among the temporary gallery closures due to COVID-19 are Art Heritage gallery, Threshold Art Gallery, Art Alive Gallery, Khoj Studios, while many like Vadehra Art Gallery are taking necessary precautions to guard against further spread. Triveni Kala Sangam has also suspended all its visual and performing art classes.

New Delhi: People seen wearing masks as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 outside the Red Fort which has been closed on Government orders as a measure to contain coronavirus, in New Delhi on March 17, 2020. (Photo: IANS) by .
People seen wearing masks as a precautionary measure against COVID-19 outside the Red Fort which has been closed on Government orders as a measure to contain coronavirus. (Photo: IANS)

“On account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Art Alive Gallery will remain closed till 31 March as per the government directives. Our priority is the safety of our employees and of all our visitors. Art Alive Gallery is monitoring the situation, and will follow all government directives issued periodically.

“During this period the Gallery will go virtual and its ongoing show ‘Night Forest, a solo presentation by Chandra Bhattacharjee’ can be viewed online. The Art Alive team will be working from home,” the gallery said in a statement.

Many auction houses like Sotheby’s have also relocated their art auctions and sales from Hong Kong — one among the major affected areas — to other locations.

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Metropolitan Museum of Art

Internationally, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has temporarily closed all three locations-The Met Fifth Avenue, The Met Breuer, and The Met Cloisters — starting March 13, to support New York City’s effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

America’s National Gallery of Art has also postponed a major monographic exhibition on the work of artist Artemisia Gentileschi. Many of the exhibitions and collections can be viewed virtually on their websites.

In the UK, the Tate’s all four locations, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Barbican Art Gallery are also closing, among others.

Google Arts & Culture is also an online platform through which the public can access a vast repository of images and information on artworks housed in the initiative’s partner museums. The platform – available as an application and a website – is currently allowing over 500 virtual tours of collections around the world.

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