Keeping Culture Alive Through Coronavirus

Roberta Cutillo (February 26, 2020)
In response to museum closures due to the Coronavirus outbreak, some Italian institutions are deciding to live stream their exhibitions and events.

The spread of the Coronavirus has led Italian authorities to order the closure of many museums, theatres and other cultural institutions until March 1st and even to cancel or post-pone major international events such as Milan’s MIA photo fair and Salone Del Mobile. 

This is certainly a great economic setback for the country’s cultural sector. However, some institutions have decided not to suspend their activities. Though they cannot physically take in visitors, they can virtually welcome them into their space as Chinese museums have begun doing through their socia media channels and by offering virtual tours. While Art Basel launched the digital platform Online Viewing Rooms to replace the Hong Kong edition of the fair, cancelled due to the virus. 

In a similar vein, Bologna’s Museum of Modern Art (MAMBo) will be streaming Ragnar Kjartansson’s performance “Bonjour” on its Youtube channel from February 27th to March 1st. And by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Bonjour” during streaming times, anyone can obtain a discounted ticket to the ongoing AGAINandAGAINandAGAINand exhibition once the museum opens back up as well as a free MAMBo pin.

“It’s an experiment, which stimulates us as a museum to overcome physical barriers,” commented the museum’s artistic director Lorenzo Balbi, who added that the initiative was made possible by the artist’s enthusiasm and availability, by the collaboration of theatre company LAMINARIE, and by the efforts of the staff of Istituzione Bologna Musei and of the municipality. 

Similarly, Venice’s architecture biennial will live stream the presentation of this year’s program held by Biennale President Paolo Baratta and the curator of the 17th Architecture Biennial Hashim Sarkis on Thursday February 27th at 11:30am (Italian time) on

Other institutions including Venice’s Archaeological Museum and Turin’s Castello di Rivoli have also adhered to the initiative by streaming tours, press conferences and other events.