Arts / Arts

The Melbourne Art Fair is going digital this June

Fans and patrons of the annual event can still get their art fix, just online this time.

Plans for the Melbourne Art Fair were cancelled earlier in the year, like other events and gatherings amid the coronavirus social distancing restrictions. The event traditionally takes place in June, but was postponed until February 2021.

But now organiser, the Melbourne Art Foundation, has decided to run a virtual festival during the normal June timing. Melbourne Art Fair will run its 2020 fair online for one week this June 1st to 7th - you can subscribe to get all the details on how to access.

The free digital event titled ‘Melbourne Art Fair Viewing Rooms' will show the work from the Australasia region originally intended for this year’s physical fair. Viewing Rooms is an experience unlike any other. It will allow patrons the opportunity to explore (virtually) the region’s most esteemed galleries and discover artworks, all from their own homes.

Melbourne Art Foundation CEO and Fair Director Maree Di Pasquale said: “Melbourne Art Fair has always been a progressive forum and is adapting to the changing art landscape and situation we currently face. Although it’s disappointing the fair cannot take place as initially scheduled this year, we are bringing the experience to the public in a new and exciting way as we wait for the event in 2021,” she says.

“Our goal with the Viewing Rooms is to keep the art community connected and provide a channel for art to continue to be a part of our lives until we can view and absorb it again via traditional methods at galleries and fairs.

“The platform we have created also puts the region’s best artists and galleries on the world stage as it’s now easier than ever for people from across the globe to enjoy what we have on offer.

“We remain committed to supporting the industry during these difficult circumstances and are using this as an opportunity to unite contemporary galleries and living artists via our digital edition of the fair.”

Throughout the week, the Melbourne Art Fair and its participating galleries will also host a series of digital experiences including artist studio visits, collector interviews and exhibition viewings on the platform. Melbourne Art Foundation is partnering with Ocula.com to bring this unique, digital experience to life.

Just some of the galleries taking part in the new digital Melbourne Art Fair are the Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne, the Despard Gallery in Hobart and the Arthouse Gallery in Sydney.

Melbourne Art Fair Viewing Rooms will be available to access for free by registering online. VIP access is open from June 1 to 2 with the general public able to view the platform from June 3 to 7. The postponed physical fair now set to take place at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from February 4-7 2021.

Creative industries are certainly some of the hardest hit by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. But creativity still finds a way. We've seen art galleries across the country open digital showrooms, we've seen performances like those of The Australian Ballet venture online, and we've even seen fashion shoots like the latest from Jacquemus happen over FaceTime.

RUSSH has spoken to creatives within our community on what we can be doing to offer support during this time. We've also looked for new ways people can express themselves in isolation like through art and line drawing.

Stay safe, stay home.