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Breathtaking Virtual Arts & Culture Events Stand in for the Real Thing

Arts and culture matter. With the coronavirus compelling the closure of many treasured museums, galleries, and concert halls across the world, society bears the brunt. The good news is that we’re seeing a burst of entertaining and enlightening virtual experiences replicating real ones, making the lives and works of artists, orchestras and museums accessible to everyone.

The breathtaking variety of virtual arts & culture videos and podcasts available on different platforms is unprecedented. Even individual musicians, painters and other artists have created online offerings, providing an enjoyable respite during these stay-at-home days.

The Museum of Modern Art, for instance, is broadcasting a series of short documentaries on living contemporary artists like Sheila Hicks and Arthur Jafa on this YouTube channel. Performance artist Pope L.’s story is particularly engrossing. Since the 1970s, he has crawled through New York City streets to spotlight the city’s inequality.

Los Angeles’ MOCA art museum recently launched Virtual MOCA, featuring the works of a different artist each week, available to Instagram viewers. The museum bills its virtual fare as a new way for people during the coronavirus to “stay connected and build community.”  

Opera-lovers can stream a different grand opera from the Metropolitan Opera’s encore presentations over the past 14 years in its Live in HD series, providing “opera solace … in these extraordinary difficult times,” said Met General Manager Peter Gelb.  

Several engaging podcasts also are on hand. Jewelry aficionados can learn about the world’s greatest jewelry pieces and designers in a series of podcasts, Frank’s Files, hosted by Sotheby’s jewelry expert, Frank Everett. Or take in another podcast to find out what happened at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in the early hours of March 18,1990. That night, 13 priceless works of art were stolen in what remains the world’s single largest property theft, a crime yet to be solved. The museum’s director of security retraces the thieves’ steps, a film noir experience for the ears.  

For stranded museum goers, Google’s Arts & Culture platform digitally documents the collections of more than 2,000 leading museums worldwide. Virtual tours, high-resolution images of notable art works, and biographies of artists like Frida Kahlo are open to anyone with a single mouse click

You also can virtually tour the Louvre Museum’s Egyptian antiquities collection, Yosemite National Park, the Great Wall of China and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Lovers of vintage wristwatches can watch this series of “Talking Watches” videos from Hodinkee and if you’re interested in opening your own private museum, you may enjoy my podcast on the subject with The Wall Street Journal.

Just like the many virtual possibilities above, Chubb is committed to serving our clients during these unsettling times. That’s why members of Chubb’s Fine Art & Collections team are conducting virtual collection valuation reviews for our collector clients. These reviews provide clients with guidance on market trends and recent auction results. We can also refer clients to appraisers to ensure they have optimal insurance coverage for their collection.

I hope you find time in your stay-at-home day to open the virtual door to the world’s greatest artists, musicians and places of historical significance. It’s there for the taking.

Laura Doyle is Vice President, Art, Jewelry & Valuable Collections Manager, Chubb Personal Risk Services.

The opinions and positions expressed are the authors’ own and not those of Chubb. The information and/ or data provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.