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Discovering high-brow culture from the comfort of your couch

How and where to maintain your title of 'art connoisseur' during a pandemic
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Digitally peruse galleries to get your fill of fine art. JADINE NGAN/THE VARSITY
Digitally peruse galleries to get your fill of fine art. JADINE NGAN/THE VARSITY

Living through a pandemic is something that none of us anticipated, to say the least. Adjusting to physical distancing and the ‘new normal’ is hard, and it’s common to feel out of touch with the real world. 

While Netflix is always there to provide hours of binge-worthy shows and movies, you may be missing your regular dose of high-brow culture, whether that be trips to your local art gallery, museum, theatre, or even through summer travels to discover the arts and culture of a new place.

But all is not lost! Here are a few ways to enjoy high-brow culture from behind a screen.

Prada’s Possible Conversations

To their consumers, high fashion houses are more than just clothes and shoes: they are an entire community. In order to stay connected with their community, Prada has launched Possible Conversations, a series of live talks on Instagram with people who excel in their respective fields, including the likes of actress Olivia Wilde, who appeared in the conversation titled “Storytelling, Narrative & Fashion post Coronavirus,” and artist Francesco Vezzoli, who discussed “Love in the Time of Coronavirus.”

UTM’s Blackwood Gallery

Blackwood Gallery’s new project is something closer to home. UTM’s art museum launched an online publication, Tilting, in April in the hopes of encouraging artists to make the most of the current situation. Each issue features 20 artists’ works, focusing on “the world as it was and the world that could be” through a variety of media, from performance pieces to installation work and acrylic on paper, according to UTM’s News Room.

Google Arts & Culture

This is perhaps the best way to get your fill of culture, at least according to me. Google Arts & Culture has something for everyone, offering museums and monuments from all around the world to discover, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Sistine Chapel, Tate Modern, and the Palace of Versailles, to name a few. You can also get your fill of classical music with recorded shows accompanying venues such as the Teatro alla Scala in Milan.

The Met 360° Project

If you’re a fan of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, whether you’ve been there or not, this is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience. Using a series of short videos, this project gives you an immersive experience of the art and architecture of The Met while it’s completely empty — a state in which it’s rarely seen.

The Royal National Theatre

For those of us who enjoy going to plays, or had tickets to upcoming shows that were cancelled, the absence of live shows is painfully felt. The National Theatre has free weekly showings of plays in their archives, including Ralph Fiennes in Antony & Cleopatra, which is definitely something you should take advantage of, given how hard it is to come by these shows.

BroadwayHD

If you’re more into musicals, Broadway is available online. BroadwayHD is a streaming service where you can watch countless recordings of Broadway performances with the original company or remakes, including classics like Kinky Boots and Les Misérables and new additions to the stage, like Falsettos. It does come with a subscription price, but it offers a week-long free trial!