How Will the Coronavirus Crisis Affect Emerging Artists and Galleries?

Ayla Angelos, Elephant, April 22, 2020

We’ve seen galleries close, events cancelled and work lost in all corners of the industry. But what does this mean for emerging artists and gallerists? We speak to a selection of those who have been personally affected by the pandemic. 

 

Victoria Williams, Founder of Cob Gallery

Cob Gallery had already been closed for six weeks for a scheduled refurb—we are now in our third month without a physical exhibition. Our programme was due to open with Cat Roissetter’s solo show in late March, followed by a series of solo exhibitions that are now all on hold.

The closure, cancellation and postponement of exhibitions, auctions and art fairs is going to have a huge effect on everybody—from the emerging market to national museums. I think it goes without saying that there will be further emphasis on digital and online content and platforms, which will likely lead to the advancement in these technologies. This might also trigger a new market of buyers, and perhaps it will encourage the democratization of the market.

Alongside this, hopefully a continuing mindfulness about our environmental impact will prevail, plus an increased sense of community. I also think there will be a stronger focus on quality programming at home, and perhaps a revival in the importance of the street level gallery.

 

Cat Roissetter, Artist

The biggest negative for me is that I can’t actually “experience” art, in the physical sense. I’ve been substituting it with TV programmes and articles online. It does make you realize how many emotions and feelings are attached just to the “idea” of going to a gallery space.

There’s huge nostalgia and memory connected to the anticipation of going to an exhibition, which is quite a regular privilege for a lot of us. On the contrary, I think it’s probably good to experience this time of restraint and restriction; the mind does seem to free up a bit.

In the future, viewing art might have to be a bit more localized. People seem to love looking at things online more and more. Weirdly, I like looking at digital images of my own work more than looking at them in the flesh. I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing, but there’s definitely something that makes me feel quite sad about it. That’s probably another discussion.