Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 14 July 2020

Review: Alserkal Online launches virtual tours of galleries

While it is a much-needed initiative, there are elements that need work

Avid museum goers know that to enter a gallery means to lose track of time. You can never tell which artwork will catch your eye and keep you lingering over it.

As museums and galleries have had to temporarily close because of the coronavirus pandemic, many are improving their online platforms to give art lovers a chance to visit virtually. Yesterday, Alserkal Avenue in Dubai launched its platform, alserkal.online, as a way to present new exhibitions from its contemporary art galleries. There are more than 300 works on view from 15 galleries and project spaces.

I’m not seasoned when it comes to browsing online viewing rooms, and Alserkal’s tours feel like clicking through Google Street View. If you’re not used to navigating space through clicks and arrows, there is a learning curve.

While the tours are available in virtual reality for those with VR gear, viewing them on a laptop is a bit unwieldy.

While it is possible to zoom in on a work, the image quality is not superior enough to offer a rich understanding of texture and nuances of colour, a loss when it comes to viewing the vibrant paintings of Mohamed Melehi at Lawrie Shabibi.

But there are still gems to look out for, such as Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde’s show on Mohammed Kazem titled Infinite Angles, which features the Emirati artist’s new hyperrealist paintings, or Ala Ebtekar’s shimmering blue cyanotype work Zenith at The Third Line.

Most of the works are tagged with a link to an Artsy page or the gallery’s website, where potential collectors can ask about pricing.

In lieu of wall text, there are descriptions of the show for viewers to glean more context.

Updated: March 24, 2020 10:15 AM

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