The Guggenheim Gallery is not letting COVID-19 stop it from showcasing student’s artwork and curated exhibitions. While the gallery remains closed for in-person visits, it is continuing programming of art exhibits on its website and social media platforms in a new and exciting way.
The gallery recently announced that a selection of the catalogs created for exhibitions is now available digitally. In addition, the gallery will publish a series of videos with interviews and walkthroughs for this fall’s shows on its YouTube channel (coming soon!).
“As the pandemic changed all our routines, I was wondering how to continue the gallery programming while under COVID restrictions,’ said Guggenheim Gallery Coordinator Marcus Herse. “To publish our catalogs digitally, seemed like one of the things we could do.”
Herse has been feverishly working, submerging himself through several years of hard drives to locate files associated with the publications to prepare them for digital release. Essentially this means changing the InDesign files created for the print versions of the catalogs to PDF flipbooks, so it appears as if you’re opening up a book and not just a single page scroll.
“Once the catalogs are designed it is easy to create a PDF for virtual distribution, but we will definitely continue the series both in print and digitally” once students are allowed back on campus, he said. Eventually Herse would like to have all publications, since 2012, converted digitally to have the gallery’s activity documented.
“I would not quite call it a silver lining, but the attention that every organization and most individuals direct towards digital representations of all kinds, is a result of the pandemic, and we are no exception,” he said.
Not only has Herse been working to create digital catalogs for exhibits, but when the pandemic hit in March 2020, he and his (then) senior students had to figure out the best way to digitally present their thesis work. After looking at different possibilities, the group decided on Scalar, a publishing platform for creative design. Scalar is an open source, web-based publishing software from the University of Southern California’s Alliance for Networking Visual Culture that allows users to create networked, multi-media online publications. The Escalette Collection is also using Scalar for its Begin/Again: Marking Black Memories Virtual Art Exhibit, part of Wilkinson College’s Engaging the World: Leading the Conversation on the Significance of Race, which runs from August 31, 2020 – May 31, 2021.
“It is an amazing tool for us to easily create digital versions of exhibitions instead of buying and designing websites for each student show. The great thing about it, aside from the fairly easy navigation, is that the exhibitions have a Chapman URL and will remain on the Chapman server indefinitely, providing our department and future students with a ready-at-hand archive of our student’s accomplishments.”
Take a look at “The Show Must Go Home: Senior Thesis Exhibition 2020” now on Scalar. Herse is currently working on the ‘make-up’ show for last semesters juniors and once live, all the links can be found on the gallery’s homepage or blog.
“It’s a great place for prospective students to see with what kind of impressive work students from the program are creating,” said Herse.
(Photo pictured in main heading: Page 2 from Your Shell is Made of Air Catalog. Art work by Olga Koumoundouros)