It’s hard to say at exactly what stage in the nebulous pandemic timeline museums decided to start releasing Zoom backgrounds. As early as March, the Smithsonian American Art Museum published a blog post titled “The Art of the Teleconference,” with instructions on how to upload works from its collections. A few days later, the Getty countered with a list of suggested backdrops from its trove of 100,000 public domain images and a screenshot of its assistant curator of manuscripts surrounded by 15th century gold leaf patterning.
By mid-April, the quirky feature had become a full-fledged digital art phenomenon, with the Metropolitan Museum offering up perfectly-scaled shots of its sumptuous period rooms to make you “the envy of your colleagues” and the Tenement Museum urging us to “Zoom into the past.” The options are now seemingly limitless, and like mostly everything else in the dizzying universe of online art saturation we currently find ourselves in, making a choice can be a daunting task.
Sift endlessly through rectangular crops of ancient Roman ruins no more: the newly launched Zoom Museum, created by Iruoma Ekpunobi, is a comprehensive compilation of the artworks made available by different institutions for your conferencing needs. The visually enticing and, most importantly, quickly-loading Tumblr blog includes links to a Google Drive with neatly-organized folders for each museum.
“ZOOM Museum is unlike most museums,” writes Ekpunobi, who says she made the website as a final project. “It is completely free, and open to the public regardless of the public’s location.” Paintings, photographs, installations, and lavishly recreated 18th century interiors, as well as step-by-step instructions to set them as backdrops on Zoom, are available for immediate download.
Bask in Alma Thomas’s dazzling “Lunar Rendezvous” (1969), from the collection of the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas. Rest under the cool branches of Paul Cézanne’s “Sous-Bois” (1894), from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Disrupt the solemn solitude of an Edward Hopper painting. Or pretend your impossibly early staff meeting is a swanky exhibition opening with an image of the de Young Museum’s galleries.
Initiatives like Zoom Museum make it easier to get artsy during what could be a very dull part of your day. For those of us sorely missing in-person interactions with art, experiencing it online can be eye roll-inducing. Having a work of art as a Zoom background, however, has become a pandemic ritual that gets you closer to your favorite institutions and your equally groggy colleagues.
As much as I appreciate the collective’s culture jamming initiatives, I don’t know that their putative premise ever bears meaningful fruit.
The banana’s dominance and ubiquity has had serious and far-reaching implications for the region, engendering exploitative labor systems, climate change, and migration.
The first lecture is on the relationship between early portrait photography and diverse notions of US identity during the Gilded Age. Register to attend on January 25.
Charles Dellheim’s study tells the tale of a small group of Jewish art dealers and collectors who played a key role in the changing art world of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The 18-month fellowship aims to provide artists with “as much access as possible” to the club’s facilities and networks “at a time and place convenient to artists.”
Part of the university’s Artists on the Future series pairing renowned artists with cultural thought leaders, this online event is free and open to the public.
A coalition of investors raised funds to purchase the film’s storyboard and announced they would “make the book public.”
A new project, “Emoji to Scale,” orders every mini-object by their real-world dimensions.
Although Khedoori does not depict living beings, their presence is evoked in the traces they leave behind.
The Bronx Museum’s fifth biennial continues to focus its programming on individual identity, eliding the ever-divergent interests of the art market and local communities.
While it may be strange to think of food insecurity as a basis for art, the works in Food Justice reveal barriers and injustices in food access.