How have we been spending our Cultivate lockdown?


Yulia Robinson at Cultivate, November 2019 (Painting detail)

How have we been spending our Cultivate lockdown? Well like everyone else involved in curating art shows, we got hit by the virus and having to close exhibitions that had only just opened and cancel shows that were coming up and throw all the plans out of the window, you’ve heard the stories from many a gallery and artist-led space, right now we don’t know what the future holds for us, we’ll hopefully be back in terms of physical shows at some point. we just don’t know how, where or when yet. So everything came t oan abrupt halt in March, we could have just sat around feeling sorry for ourselves, instead we got on with doing things on-line, we had been curating on-line shows anyway, something we’ve always seen as fitting in next to our regular physical shows (there has now been 156 Cultivate shows, nine of them on-line), during this period of lockdown we have now opened three on-line shows, exhibited over 650 pieces of art from around 100 artists, a whole mix of London-based Cultivate regulars joined by artists from all over the country, indeed from all over the globe – artists who were either personally invited or who were found via an open call process (we have a strong policy in terms of Open Calls and the way they are done here at Cultivate, we like to treat artists the way we would like to be treated ourselves as artists) .

The three on-line shows during the time of Lockdown, #43Artists (April), (Far from the) Turmoil (May) and the most recent show, (And with good) Reason (June), were carefully curated by the Cultivate artist team of Sean Worrall and Emma Harvey, are hosted on Cultivate’s sister website Organ, there are no plans to end the shows, why should there be when they can just stay there on the website?  Each of the recent show was viewed just over 40,000 times during the first week of being live, the opening nights for all three shows were particularly busy, we expect all three shows, like previous Cultivate on-line shows, will continue to be visited over the next few months/years, people still visit our previous on-line shows regularly.  Amongst the hundred or so participating artists, the three shows feature some 38 new (to us) artists who came our way via the open call process.

What next then? Is the lockdown over? Are we ready to think about physical shows? Can we afford to do it? Who would come? I can’t say I feel ready to go to physical art shows yet, Should we do more on-line? I enjoyed the on-line shows, looking at art on-line isn’t quite like looking at art in the flesh,, it does take a lot of time and effort, a lot more time and effort involved in putting together a non-line show than there in a physical show, shall we do another one or shall we just wait it out?  What do you think?  Another on-line show while we’re in limbo? Normally at this time of year we’be doing things liek the Art Car Boot Fair oe taking over a large warehouse (lke that show in the photo there) or at the Whitecross Street Party or something, do we have the energy for another on-line show?


Cultivate – Play, Hackney, 2015





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